What Is This?! Odd Things That Can Happen In Pregnancy

If you are expecting, you probably have heard about the typical things that happen to you during pregnancy such as; great hair, glowing skin, constantly tired and ready to nap within an hour of waking. Did you know there are more things can happen during pregnancy that is less talked about?

Let’s talk about some of them today so you’re prepared if they happen to you!

Why on earth is my vagina blue?

Most likely this is due to Chadwick’s Sign. Around 6 to 8 weeks gestation you may notice that your vagina has a blueish color to it. It is due to increased blood flow and the substantial hormonal changes that come with pregnancy.

My breasts look like a road-map!

Your veins, especially in your breasts, are proliferating due to the increased blood volume carrying nutrients to your growing baby. Veins are darker than normal and much more noticeable under the skin.

Beware of crop dusting!

With your digestive system running slower than normal due to more progesterone in your body which relaxes your muscles including your intestines, you may experience the worst gas of your life. Bloating, burping and tooting are not glamorous at all, but you get a pass to let it all out!

Why is there hair there?!

These rogue hairs may appear on your nipples of all areas. You may look down one day and see a dark, wiry hair. The fluctuation of hormones, especially during pregnancy is often to blame. Your hormones are significantly changing and often rouge hairs appear because of it. You can leave them be or choose to wax, pluck or shave them, just be careful since this area is really sensitive!

Hobbit in the house!

Yes, your feet might get bigger. They may even stay that way after you deliver your baby. Due to the hormone, relaxin being produced by your body to loosen pelvic ligaments. Relaxin also loosens other ligaments in your body including the feet, allowing the bones to spread. That, accompanied by weight gain and swelling puts extra pressure on the arches and causes them to fall, which widens the foot.

Of course, your doula can help you navigate things that may be going on, but we’ll always refer you to speak with your Midwife or OB. If you’d like to learn more about the value of doula support, contact us today!

Heather

 

Easy Ways To Initiate A Bedtime Routine

Maybe it’s time to initiate a bedtime routine. Whether you have a strict schedule or a more relaxed approach to scheduling, there are some simple things that you can do daily to help your baby learn over time that it’s time for sleep.

Do you feel as though your evenings are full of chaos?

Maybe it’s time to initiate a bedtime routine. Whether you have a strict schedule or a more relaxed approach to scheduling, there are some simple things that you can do daily to help your baby learn over time that it’s time for sleep.

You can easily implement some or all of the following things to make your evenings and bedtime a little more predictable and relaxing for all involved.

anita-austvika-iWVN7jVH02E-unsplash

1. Bath:

Bath time doesn’t have to be a huge production. As simple as a quick warm bath when needed or a quick sponge bath. Work quickly and keep them as warm as you can, especially if they do not particularly like baths.

Calm is the feeling we are searching for here…. If they enjoy a bath, go slow and let them enjoy the warm water.

 

2. Dim Lights & Quiet Voices:

This is a time to turn off bright lights and go for a more dim and cozy feeling. Your voice can soften and become quieter as you are trying to promote quiet and soothing sounds. The more hustle going on around them the more stimulated they will become and you want to promote a zen-like atmosphere.

3. Massage: 

You may want to consider adding a quick massage to your nightly routine. You can do this every night as you get them in their pajamas with or without a bath. Nothing fancy has to happen here…just you and your baby, a little lotion, cream or oil for slip and connection. Use slow and moderate pressure to gently massage your baby’s arms, tummy, legs and feet/hands. Keep an eye out for a separate blog and video for baby massage in the future.

Massage is something that babies usually love, or grow to love and look forward to.

kelly-sikkema-B7-_bkpgcD4-unsplash

4. Swaddle:

I am a huge fan of swaddling and keeping baby feeling that comfort and security he felt in the womb. Swaddles are a great tool in soothing your baby if fussy, and keeping them sleeping longer than without. Your baby may fuss while being swaddled, that doesn’t mean that they don’t like it. I’ve never met an infant that did not love to be swaddled. If they are fussing, they quickly quiet down once picked back up and realize that they are safe and cozy.

5. Soft Music & Sounds:

Along with all of these, adding some soft music (think of spa-like music), nature sounds or white/brown noise is very helpful in promoting a sleepy atmosphere for your baby. This is a great time to quietly read to your baby as you rock or feed your baby before putting them to bed. There are so many apps for your phone, or sound machines out there on the market. We love the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine & Night Light because it grows with your child and works with your phone!

Nighttime Routine (1)

Here’s to happy, smooth and sleepy nights! We are always here to help if you need us day, or night, for a day or two or more!

-Heather

 

 

To Sweep or Not To Sweep? Membrane Sweeping Basics

Facing an induction? You may want to consider a membrane sweep. Here are the basics…

Untitled design (2)

If you are ever so slowly creeping to 40 weeks and beyond, your midwife or OB may offer a ‘stretch and sweep’ or a ‘membrane sweep’. For most normal, low-risk pregnancies this is a safe and relatively gentle way to try to induce labor without the use of chemicals or AROM (artificial rupture of membranes).

What the heck are they sweeping?

The end result of this procedure is to encourage the release of prostaglandins, which are hormones that soften or efface the cervix and initiate labor. They do this by gently “sweeping”, or separating the membranes from the amniotic sac from the cervix.

How do they do a stretch and sweep?

If you aren’t yet dilated, they will massage the opening of your cervix with their finger to get that stretch and hopefully your body will release the prostaglandins to efface the cervix and bring about labor. If you are dilated, they will insert their finger inside the opening of the cervix and use circular massage motions to gently separate the membranes from the cervix. This procedure can be uncomfortable, so don’t be shy about asking them to give you a break if you need it.

The Benefits:

  • A stretch and sweep 40 weeks and beyond can greatly reduce the chances of delivering beyond term
  • A safe choice for most healthy, low-risk term pregnancies vs. induction methods with medication or AROM

The Risks:

  • It’s uncomfortable
  • There’s a chance of accidental AROM which can lead to infection and potentially further interventions if labor doesn’t begin

You may notice after a stretch and sweep some discomfort, mild to occasionally strong pain, cramping, and slight bleeding. Hopefully, labor will begin within 24 hours after a sweep. Be sure to contact your midwife or OB if your water breaks or seems to be leaking, or if you experience any bright red bleeding.

-Heather

MainLogo

 

Bust A Move! The Importance Of Movement In Labor.

 

Yes! You can and should move your body during labor. Whether you are laboring unmedicated or with an epidural, movement in labor is key!

Why is movement in my labor so important?

Here are a few reasons why you should move your body during labor:

1. Movement helps facilitate fetal descent. Keeping your body moving assists the baby in the Cardinal Movements of labor. Picture a little mouse wriggling, turning and twisting its head to fit through a tiny opening. How can we get our body moving during labor and assist with fetal descent?

  • Standing – Even the act of moving positions in bed, getting out of the bed, a chair or in and out out of the tub helps to move and loosen the pelvis.
  • Walking – The rhythmic sway of your hips as you walk along with gravity help to keep baby’s head pressing on your cervix and coax descent. Add a little extra pop in the hip to really get more motion.
  • Rock, Sway, Dance – Rocking and swaying can be done whether you are standing or kneeling.
  • Squat – Holding on to the bed, hall rail, squat bar, or partner during a contraction. Your doula can show you how to utilize the squat bar, peanut ball and labor bed for supported squats if you are confined to the bed for any reason or utilizing an epidural. You can also ask your nurse if they have a birthing stool you can use.
  • Kneeling – Asymmetrical kneeling and lunging not only provides openness in the pelvic outlet, but it also allows freedom to move unlike the static position of squatting. Picture swaying your hips while kneeling or rocking toward your bent knee while lunging during a contraction. Your doula can also show you how to do this in bed with the peanut ball. Asymmetrical kneeling is a perfect position toward the end of labor when we may not have a lot of strength, stamina or flexibility.

2. Movement can help to shorten labor by producing stronger, more effective contractions. Nice strong and consistent contractions are what’s needed to bring the baby down and dilate the cervix.

3. Movement is also a comfort measure during labor. The repetitive motion and rhythm will help as a form of pain relief during contractions.

So, now you have some ideas for how to move, when to move and why to move! Which movements do you think will resonate with you during your labor?

Happy Laboring! -Heather

 

 

 

5 Ways To Keep Your Bump Cool This Summer

After the extremely humid day we had here yesterday and today in NE Ohio, I had to throw some ideas out there for keeping cool and surviving the summer heat. Take a look and get some ideas for keeping your cool!

1. Wear lightweight breathable fabrics

While linen has been used for centuries to keep us cool in the summer heat, cotton and chambray are great too! Cotton knits are light and breezy and chambray is a finely woven cotton which will also help you to keep your cool. Side note: It’s very important to keep using your SPF since your skin is more prone to burning while pregnant. So, SPF and covering with lightweight fabrics will be a great team for the summer.

2. Make a smoothie

Cool off with a refreshing, nutrient-rich, healthy smoothie for breakfast, or with lunch. This Ultimate Superfood Pregnancy Smoothie would be awesome paired with tuna salad on multi-grain bread, or a bed of greens. Adding some freshly grated ginger to your smoothie will help ease any morning sickness you may have.

3. Take a dip

Swimming is one of the best means of exercise* for pregnancy. Not only will it cool you off, but it will help prevent or reduce swelling by reducing the impact of gravity on the extra fluids (50% more during pregnancy) in your body. So, hang out and relax in the pool, or take an exercise class to keep active. Some swim exercise classes incorporate Pilates and yoga to help keep you stretched out. (*Make sure to check with your care provider before adding any exercise to your routine while pregnant.)

4. Take a nap

Head indoors, crank up the AC, aim a fan at your bed and indulge in a glorious nap! Now is the time to take advantage of your right to nap. As your pregnancy progresses, you will find that you lose sleep at night either from having to use the bathroom frequently or by not being able to get comfortable. So, take time for cooling off indoors by napping while you’re at it.

5. Take a luke-warm bath

End your day by chilling out in a nice, quiet bath. Luke-warm water will help cool your body down and get you ready for a nice nights sleep. Put your feet up on the edge of the tub to help with swelling from all the extra fluids in your body and water retention. Keeping your favorite body lotion in the fridge is a nice way to moisturize your skin and keep cool after your bath.

Cheers to staying cool! -Heather

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire a Postpartum Doula

Wondering if a Postpartum and Infant Care doula is right for your family? You may want to take the following into consideration while making your decision.

1. You Live in a Village. One question I get asked quite often when someone finds out I’m a Postpartum and Infant Care doula, is: “Why would I need a postpartum doula when I have my mom?”  It’s a very honest and legitimate question. Here is my answer. If you are blessed enough to have a mother (or other close relative or friend) willing to help you out after having a baby, great! That’s wonderful, and I am so happy for you. But family isn’t always close by. Families are now spread out, not only across the country, but across the world! Gone are the days of having relatives down the block, able to pitch in at a moment’s notice. We are separated by distance now. Furthermore, even if a relative could make the trip and be with you after giving birth (or if they happen to live nearby) many have responsibilities of their own to take care of. They have jobs and families of their own to get back to. They may be able to offer you a few days, maybe a week’s worth of help, but that may be it. A nice respite, sure, but hardly sustainable. A postpartum doula steps in to fill this need for as long as the family needs. 

2. You Never Need Help. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, meal preparation, older child care, pet care…plus getting to know and caring for a new baby all while healing from labor and delivery? “No big deal”…said no mother ever. The fact of the matter is, we all need help sometimes. A postpartum doula is there so that you can spend more time healing and bonding with your baby and family, and less time worrying about the laundry. Each visit from a postpartum doula will be tailored to fit your family’s unique needs that day. Need someone to care for baby while you take a much-deserved shower and nap? We do that. Need someone to fold laundry, wash dishes, or meal prep while you tend to baby? We do that. Need help handling older children and a new baby? We do that. Need a non-judgmental, supportive ear and a shoulder to cry on? We do that. Our goal is to see the family experience a smooth and joyful transition during this time.

3. You Never Have Any Questions or Doubts. If you never have any questions concerning postpartum recovery, breastfeeding positions, latch, bottle-feeding, reflux, bathing, co-sleeping, or a myriad of other questions that come up during the postpartum stage, then you may not need a postpartum doula. However, if like most of us you do have questions, a Postpartum and Infant Care doula offers a wealth of information and non-judgmental support during this confusing and overwhelming time.

4. You Never Need To Sleep. Let’s face it: Most of us need adequate sleep in order to feel our best mentally and physically. Unfortunately, the time when you need rest the most-a time when your body and mind need to take time to recover-is when most families experience the least amount of sleep they’ve had in years. A postpartum doula is here to guarantee that you get the rest and sleep that you deserve and need. Whether it’s a cat-nap in the afternoon, or a few hours sleep at night (yes, postpartum doulas offer night-time care as well! Sleep well knowing your baby is being lovingly cared for.), a postpartum doula will make sure you get adequate rest.

5. You are Wonder Woman. Actually, scratch that. I’m sure even Wonder Woman could use unbiased support and a chance to ask questions and voice frustrations without fear of judgment. Everyone needs someone in their corner cheering them on.

Stacie Loughrin, Birth and Postpartum & Infant Care Doula

Today’s blog is by our own, Stacie Loughrin, Birth and Postpartum & Infant Care Doula. For more information about Stacie and our Postpartum & Infant Care Doula services, Contact Us today!

Mind Your Own Bump

It happens to all of us at some point either in our pregnancy or parenting journeys. People stick their nose in where it does not belong, tell you how to birth, how to parent, they share their horrible experiences with their own births or breastfeeding journeys. It either freaks us out, scares us, or is just plain annoying. Even though most people mean well, it still stings.

I’ll share a little tidbit of information with you. Sometimes you have to put yourself in a little bubble and let these comments, opinions, stories, and views bounce off of you. This is your journey and your story that is unfolding and you are going to experience it in your own special way. If your cousin Lisa tells you all about her absolutely horrible experience during her induction using Pitocin, listen to her – but don’t let that frighten you and form your own opinion of Pitocin based on someone else’s experience with it.

Fill your eyes and ears with positive birth stories, learn and absorb all that you can about the physiology of the birth process, comfort measures, pain relief options and situations that can arise that would require interventions.

If you reach out to your peers wanting to know their experiences or advice on a certain topic, be prepared to hear everything – good and bad. Especially when asking in a Facebook group. Then take your questions and concerns to your OB or Midwife, trust them. They absolutely have your best interests in mind. This is another great reason to have a birth & postpartum doula.

One of the many perks of hiring a doula is that she will give you a safe, nonbiased place, listening ears and a plethora of knowledge to go at any time for help finding answers to things that are worrisome to you and for reputable resources for you to learn, research and make decisions for yourself during your journey. A best friend for everything pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

Interested in learning more about how a doula can help you navigate birth, postpartum and parenting? Contact us today!

-Heather

10 Ways to Soothe a Fussy Baby

Let’s face it – all babies have their moments of fussiness. As a doula, having worked an abundance of families and helping them get to know their babies, learning their cues and what works and what doesn’t in regards to soothing the fussiness or getting them to sleep is a big part of the first few months of parenting. Sometimes the most simple movement, step or sound is just what you need. Other times, you need to add a few more tricks to what you are doing. Sometimes babies fuss the loudest right before they fall asleep like they are fighting it. As long as you know your baby is fed and has a clean diaper, you can go to your arsenal of tricks to help soothe your baby. I have compiled a list of my favorite 10 ways to soothe a fussy baby:


1. SWADDLE: This is the very first soothing technique I go to every time. The first 3 months of life should be treated like the fourth trimester, trying to recreate the womb as Dr. Harvey Karp says. It really works for me every time. Your baby may fuss during the swaddling, or right after (it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like being swaddled). Once they realize they are safe and secure just like they were in the womb, they calm down. See my favorite swaddle blanket here. Dr. Karp is known for the techniques he developed for calming infants – The 5 S’s: swaddling, side/stomach, shushing, swinging/swaying, & sucking.

 

2. YOGA BALL: Besides a big muslin swaddle blanket, this is my second go-to and must-have for pregnancy and parenting. This $10.00 ball will likely be the greatest investment during this time. Gentle bouncing on the ball while holding your baby is all you have to do. Sometimes depending on the degree of fussiness, you may have to incorporate some of the techniques listed above. If you are expecting, I recommend getting one to have in the living room while you are watching TV, it’s great to do figure 8’s on to loosen your pelvis, or gentle bouncing closer to your due date to possibly help encourage baby to engage into the pelvis. This video gives you some other ways to use your yoga ball during pregnancy and labor.

 


3. BABYWEARING: Keeping your baby close to you while you work around the house or out walking or at the store helps to keep them happy, plus there are so many benefits of babywearing. Some of the best naps for my own babies have been while being worn. There are lots of options out there in regards to what kind of carrier – check out this gorgeous Tula Ergonomic Carrier at locally owned Baby Sweet Pea’s Boutique or wrap will work for you and your needs. Luckily, we have Babywearing International of Cleveland to help us figure all this out! Monthly meetings, experienced educators helping you learn to wear safely and fit you with the carriers, lending library and more. I highly recommend attending a meeting near you if you think babywearing is for you.

 


4. GET OUTDOORS: Sometimes just getting out of the house for some fresh air and to listen to the sounds of nature for a bit are just enough to entertain baby for a bit. Whether you use a stroller (I really enjoy this one: City Select Jogger ) or baby carrier. Soak in a bit of vitamin D and go for a walk, or just sit outside for a bit.
5. WHITE NOISE: White noise is great, whether coming from a vacuum, water faucet, an app on your phone, or a sound machine – the Marpac Hushh is awesome since it’s portable and nice and loud. It not only drowns out other noises that could disrupt sleep, but it is soothing and relaxing to listen to.
6. SWING: The constant motion from a swing or Momaroo is helpful for soothing and napping (under supervision, of course). I like the Graco Duet Oasis because it can be turned and swing side to side instead of front to back and it vibrates. The Momaroo has lots of different motions, even one that mimics bouncing (remember #2) and white noise choices!

 


7. PLAYMAT: Occasionally, your baby may just want a moment to stretch out. Playmats and activity gyms are great for letting baby stretch, kick, look at toys and do a little tummy time. Eventually, baby will start to play with (bat at) the little toys that are hanging from it. How adorable is the Emily & Meritt Activity Gym?
8. OLDER SIBLINGS: Older children, toddlers, even fur-brothers and sisters make good distractions for baby. Babies love watching other kids – whether they are talking to them, singing, or playing with a toy in front of them. The older your baby gets, you will notice them become more and more interested in other kids.

 


9. ROCKING CHAIR: Going back to the good old-fashioned rocking chair is a soothing motion, plus baby will have the comfort of being held. Whether you have a nice wooden rocking chair like the Bakersfield Rocking Chair or a comfy glider, try it out! It’s a great place to read a book too!

 


10. SNOO: The Snoo is pretty much the Cadillac of bassinettes. Completely recreating the sounds and motions of the womb that baby loved so much. The Snoo sack has safety clips that keep baby on their back all night long. The Snoo chooses the best motions like low swaying for sleep and faster jiggling for upsets, and the best white noise like rain for sleep or womb sounds for crying.

 

For more information on how your doula can guide you and support you and your soothing techniques Contact us today!

Happy Soothing!  -Heather

Top 5 Brunch Spots in Cleveland

On Sundays, we brunch!

Is there a better way to spend a Sunday? I don’t think so! I have compiled a list of 5 hot brunch spots here in Cleveland. Some I have been to, and some I am planning on going to very soon! Spring is here and the weather is starting to be beautiful, some of the patios are starting to open up. It’s the perfect way to spend time with your family & friends on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Whether you take the whole family or keep it date-like, you will be sure to find yourself relaxed & rejuvenated, with a satisfied palette! Do you have an infant or young child in tow? Bring your Postpartum Doula to help keep the experience calm & peaceful. Doula’s love brunch too! (Just saying!)

 

1. Town Hall, Ohio City

www.townhallohiocity.com


You will find yourself having trouble deciding what to order off the brunch menu when you visit! My favorites are the Spicy Curry Chicken Noodles, Sweet Potato Hotcakes & the Food Truck Tacos. They also have an awesome Grass-Fed Cheeseburger and a make-your-own Crepe Bar. Tons of choices for vegan, gluten-free & paleo diets, along with a fantastic Bean Bar, Beer list & Bloody Mary! The entire menu is free from GMO’s, something that they are very passionate about.

 

2. Alley Cat Oyster Bar, Flats East Bank Entertainment District

www.alleycatoysterbar.com

Great shot by @nikkee11

Along with offering great views of the Cuyahoga River, The Blue Bridge & boaters on their waterfront dining and patio, The Alley Cat Oyster Bar is one of my favorites! We start with the Baked Oysters, then always get the Lobster Omelet, and my favorite – the Brown Rice Bowl with kimchi, avocado, mushroom, cilantro, and topped with a fried egg. Their brunch menu is so delicious! (P.S. – They have a stellar Bloody Mary Bar!)

 

3. Trentina, University Circle

www.restauranttrentina.com

A view of the gorgeous dining room at Trentina

This very posh & eclectic gem of Cleveland offers rustic Italian cuisine. They shop local farmers and purveyors to reduce food miles and offer sustainability. There is a food lab on premise that they use to ferment sauces, cure meats, grow herbs & make cheese & yogurt. The brunch menu is unbelievable! Semolina Waffle with preserved lemon, bourbon fig ricotta, Ohio maple syrup & walnuts sounds fantastic!  I can’t wait to get up there and brunch! The very special Menu Bianco features a seasonal 12-course tasting menu and looks wonderful too!

 

4. Luxe, Gordon Square

www.luxecleveland.com

Patio at Luxe

Looking for a luxurious vibe, Mediterranean-Italian bistro, with a mission to reduce-reuse-recycle? Luxe is the perfect hip spot to go for a relaxing brunch! Their brunch menu will make your mouth water with their Short Rib Hash, omelets like the Market Chicken Sausage with crumbled goat cheese, roasted red skin potatoes & spinach. Their Luxe Burger comes with fontina, honey cured bacon & roasted onions on challah.  Handcrafted cocktails, and a great beer and wine list too!

 

5. Fat Cats, Tremont

www.coolplacestoeat.com

My daughter and I love to come to Fat Cats! The Crispy Brussel Sprouts are so delicious with the roasted Ohio apples and curry dressing. Tofu Tacos with scrambled eggs, tabbouleh quinoa, crispy olives and roasted beets are AMAZING! This cool, funky old house turned into an amazing restaurant and brunch spot will impress you and satisfy your cravings! Check out the brunch menu!

 

I hope this list gives you some ideas for quality time this weekend! To learn more about what a postpartum doula does, check out our Blog!

Brunch on,

Heather

Pack your bags!

What do I bring to the hospital?

This is a question we hear all of the time and one that we are completely prepared to answer. Whether you are a light packer, or a slightly over packer, we have put together a  list for you!

This printable list will come in handy for packing some items ahead of time and some last-minute items as you’re headed out the door.

Happy packing!

– Heather