Pregnancy

What No One Tells You About The Months After A Miscarriage

It has been six months since I miscarried in November last year.

I Snapped At My Husband. Two Days Later, I Started Losing My Baby.

Content warning: This post contains details of miscarriage some readers may find triggering.

It Felt Like Something Was Falling Out Of My Vagina. It Kind Of Was.

I was irritated at the lack of knowledge, and angry, because this shouldn’t have happened to me.

I Ate My Placenta To Prevent Postpartum Depression

I didn’t give my placenta another thought until it splashed loudly in my toilet.

Why I Drank While I Was Pregnant

Cheers to having agency over your own damn body.

When Your Miscarriage Is A Relief

When I found out I was pregnant, I was shocked and scared.

How I Learned Birth Plans Were A Waste Of Time

There’s no such thing as a birth plan that goes according to plan.

How To Fight The Fear When Having A Rainbow Baby

It’s a roller-coaster of emotions when you conceive a “rainbow baby” – a baby born directly following a miscarriage or stillbirth. At first, you’re incredibly happy and relieved and then the cold, hard fear and dread creeps in. A rainbow baby will never erase the pain or the memory of the lost baby, but it’s a beautiful, new beginning.

RELATED: Pregnancy Etiquette 101: Be Kind To Bumps

For the loss of a baby through miscarriage and/or a stillborn is an incredibly devastating and debilitating life event and can take you much time to grieve. It’s as though your mind/body/spirit has undergone such massive stress and gut-wrenching upset and sadness, you wonder if you’ll ever heal.

Pregnancy loss is then worsened, at times, by society’s ill-treatment of the bereaved; your no doubt well-meaning friends, family and work colleagues will want and expect you to recover very quickly, as well might you may. But, in my experience, after two miscarriages, the grief process can take some time and you can think you’re well recovered until something sets you back: a friend falling pregnant; a violent reaction to seeing a newborn in the street; and/or you’re pregnant again and you’re overcome by fear.

rainbow baby, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, miscarriage

I fell pregnant with our first child just four months after the soul-sapping horror and heartbreak of finding out our much-wanted, 12-week baby had no heartbeat. Of course, my husband and I dearly hoped we’d fall pregnant again quickly and we were very blessed that it did, but I wasn’t quite prepared, either physically or emotionally, to fall pregnant again so soon. I felt incredibly scared and numb.

Would I miscarry again? Could I survive it? What if I just couldn’t carry a baby to term? All these hideous fears and more were clouding my heart and my head to the point it was overshadowing any pregnancy joy I was experiencing with my first child.

So, what did I do? Here are my tips, from my heart, on how to embrace having a rainbow baby. Below, you’ll also find top advice from a clinical psychologist I interviewed, who wishes to remain anonymous.

And did I get my happy ending? Yes – I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who was a whopper, born ten days overdue. And I’d venture dear reader, you’ll get your happy ending – a much-wanted child – just as I did, too.

rainbow baby, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, miscarriage

My coping tips

  • Keep busy: Working through my first pregnancy right up until week 32 (when I got too huge and cumbersome to travel) helped me stay sane and focused on something else outside my pregnancy.
  • Get help: I got some very helpful short-term grief counselling from a clinical psychologist to help me better resolve my grief over losing the baby.
  • Mind over matter: I practised a lot of pregnancy yoga and meditation to resolve my angst. There’s something so healing about both yoga and meditation and it’s good for your health too.
  • Talk, talk, talk: Loved ones you can lean on, who offer wise, practical and sane advice, are who you need to surround yourself with right now. Stay away from negative people who regale you with pregnancy horror stories. And talk it out – I talked about my fears and stress a lot and it helped me no end.

Psychologist coping tips

“Miscarriage is a very distressing event,” says the clinical psychologist. “It’s bound to be followed by a period of grieving and sadness, making it hard to enjoy a subsequent pregnancy. But it’s so important to move on and allow yourself to feel the joy and optimism of a new pregnancy,” she says.

It’s not easy, but the psych says to try these suggestions:

  •  Discuss your fears: Tell your worries to a professional such as a nurse/counsellor, someone who can reassure you on the statistics of having a normal pregnancy this time around.
  • Practice some mindfulness: Learn to be in the here and now and enjoy the moment – do something you enjoy and immerse yourself in that.
  • Seek strong support: Be with friends and family who are supportive and positive, who will talk if you want to or just be there with you in a kind, caring and understanding way.
  • Breathe in and out: If you are experiencing anxiety, try relaxing using slow deep breathing and picture the new baby, healthy and safely arrived. Imagine holding her/him and allow yourself to feel happiness. Hold onto that feeling.

rainbow baby, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, miscarriage

Images via froufroumonkey.com, lendmeyourkite.com, inspirefirst.com, Pinterest

What do you think? Did you have a rainbow baby?

This Should Be Labelled As A Pregnancy Sin

While Carrie Bickmore is shutting down Steve Price about his breastfeeding comment, social media has been blowing up about a woman’s right to breastfeed whenever and wherever she wants. And while most of the population are supportive about women breastfeeding in public, there are still those that hate on the natural process.

RELATED: What Is Making Parents Harm Their Children?

I would like to call all those who get so distressed about breastfeeding to jump on a new cause. The other day, I witnessed a woman, easily her third trimester, smoking. I was shocked. Knowing that there is so much research and support to show the problems that smoking during pregnancy causes, and rarely seeing women publicly smoke while pregnant, I was in disbelief.

Smoking during pregnancy is the number one cause of adverse effects on children’s health. Being born premature, being born too small and death before birth can all be avoided if a woman was to stop smoking during her pregnancy.

And I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Through the glass windows of our office, three other women saw the puffs of smoke escape the woman’s mouth as she talked on her mobile phone, causing a discussion about neglect for the unborn child that is trying to grow in her uterus.

Many have forgotten about smoking during pregnancy, purely because it’s not something the media reports on at the present moment, but it is still occurring, putting many more babies at risk of developing a debilitating disease. While babies who have suffered from cigarette exposure can suffer from problems at birth and infant death, the smoking also affects them later in life with children having a higher risk of asthma or decreased lung function, an increased risk of childhood obesity and an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in adulthood.

A decision of a woman to smoke during her pregnancy will cause health effects on her child for life. It has even been suggested as child abuse or neglect due to the fact that smoking harms an unborn child who has no say or rights.

In such a modern and sophisticated world with ample access to research and technology, I wouldn’t think we would be having this conversation, but as people forget what isn’t being publicised in the media everyday, we need to remember that smoking during pregnancy is very harmful.

If you need help quitting, you should see your doctor.

Image via jacquewatkins.com

Top Tips For Your Pregnancy Workout

Did you ever watch What To Expect When You’re Expecting? And think, I’m going to be Elizabeth Banks, who has the awful pregnancy experience while Brooklyn Decker is still wearing stilettos and going to pre-natal yoga classes. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, but staying fit and healthy during a pregnancy is good for you and your baby. However, there are certain things that you should take into consideration when you’ve got a bubba growing inside of you.

RELATED: What Dads-To-Be Can Experience During Pregnancy

There’s a certain false impression that working on those abs is going to help you push out the baby when the (terrifying) time comes but accredited exercise physiologist Kate Faber from Precision Physio is here to bust that myth, saying it’s just not going to help in the way you think it is.

kate faber, precision physio

Kate Says, “Many women (and some medical, health and fitness professionals) believe there is great need to strengthen the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, in order to assist in pushing the baby out during delivery. While this may seem logical, the abdominal muscles are not directly involved in delivering the baby – the uterus and pelvic floor are responsible for that!”

And if you’re thinking that’s not a problem, but you’ll continue to do crunches to make it easier to get that flat belly after your pregnancy, you should definitely think again about that one.

“While you may think, “well, it couldn’t hurt, right?” Unfortunately, some women will find the tighter and stronger their abdominal muscles are, the more likely they are to develop abdominal separation (diastasis recti). So it’s not always easy, but you need to find the right balance between maintaining all-over, whole-body strength (which still includes the abdominal muscles), without overdoing it and putting yourself at risk of abdominal separation,” says Kate.

Pregnancy exercise is a great way to keep yourself fit and minimize the extra weight gain that isn’t pregnancy weight but just ‘I can eat whatever I want weight’. Everyone gains weight during pregnancy, but let’s take a tip from Jessica Simpson to put down the deep fried Oreos and Southern spiced wings and keep it healthy for the baby. Eating a healthy diet and engaging in some pregnancy-friendly exercise is a great way to keep yourself fit and not have to shock your system once you’ve given birth and you’re looking to get your pre-baby bod back.

Kate also has some great pregnancy tips for the type of exercise you are looking to do. You should always take your baby’s health into consideration and see your body as a place that you are nurturing a life. Women don’t need to be completely wrapped in cotton wool when they’re pregnant, but there are safety tips to follow when considering how you’re going to work out.

Let’s take a look at Kate’s top pregnancy workout tips:

  1. Include a gradual warm-up and cool-down pre and post exercise.
  2. Exercise at an intensity that is comfortable for you – avoid unsupervised high-intensity exercise during pregnancy if you weren’t doing it before you fell pregnant.
  3. Stay well hydrated and avoid over-heating.
  4. Avoid any activities (e.g. very heavy lifting) which cause you to hold your breath or alter your posture.
  5. Beyond 16 weeks, be careful when lying on your back – you may be more comfortable in a seated or incline position.
  6. Avoid activities which increase the risk of physical injury (e.g. contact sports).
  7. If you do develop abdominal separation, seek guidance around exercises you need to include or avoid.
  8. Get moving – reduce time spent sitting and get regular exercise in!
  9. Maintain good bowel habits – go when you need to go!
  10. Practice safe manual handling techniques – whether it be at work or home.

Keeping it gentle is key and activities like walking, swimming, yoga and pilates are low impact activities that keep your body fit and build a strong cardiovascular system, which makes mum and bub healthier.

For more information about Kate Faber and Precision Physio, you can visit their website.

Images via myrtylebeachbirthservices.com and precisionathletica.com.au

What Dads-To-Be Can Experience During Pregnancy

While women are usually elated during pregnancy, dads-to-be can sometimes put a damper on things. The reason: FEAR! Many men experience unrelenting fear because life as they know it has changed in an instant – and despite most men not revealing what they are thinking, as soon as it’s official that they are about to become fathers their minds race off in a million different directions.

RELATED How To Get Men To Open Up And Talk

Initially, there’s the prospect of complications during pregnancy. Men won’t say it, but there are some who fear losing the baby as a result of miscarriage. Giving the commonality of miscarriage, said to occur in about one in five pregnancies, this fear is understandable. As a result, some men may distance themselves from their partner or the pregnancy and their thoughts surrounding this loss can make them do some weird and not-so-wonderful things.

For example: some men avoid talking about the baby or purchasing essential items before the baby is born. To women this can be frustrating or hurtful and tends to look like he’s really not interested. That’s often not the case. Basically, they want to avoid the pain associated with miscarriage – and whether they realise it or not, some dads-to-be put up protective boundaries to prevent this from happening.

On the other hand, some expectant fathers worry obsessively about their unborn baby and partner. They don’t want anything to go wrong and take every precaution to prevent complications. This is when pregnancy can effect a couple’s sex life. There are men who worry about vaginal penetration or additional pressure on their partners stomach during sex. These men are genuinely concerned about harming the baby. And despite the lack of evidence that sex could be a reason for miscarriage, there are men who don’t want to take the risk or feel uncomfortable about having sex with their pregnant spouse specifically for this reason.

This brings many to have fears about their partner and relationship. Although fatal birthing complications are as rare as hen’s teeth these days, most men don’t want to contemplate the idea that anything could happen to their partner or baby during delivery. Other thoughts surrounding their relationship include: whether it’s strong enough to survive parenthood, how will the baby change their life together and how their roles as partners and people will shift.

Ultimately, all men expecting a baby ask themselves the biggest question and that is how will they cope with being a father. All these thoughts and feelings manifest as some type of behaviour. Those confident about the challenges ahead will excel, while other men will struggle with the concept of fatherhood and this is when negatives arise – they may not be telling their partners directly how they feel, but their behaviour will be a prime indicator of what they are experiencing.

Image via essentialbaby.com.au

Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy

Preconception care prepares your body for a successful, healthy pregnancy and is one of the most responsible choices you can make for you and your baby’s health. It helps eliminate harmful substances from your diet known to affect reproductive and general health and foetal development and should be considered by everyone looking to start a family.

“You need a healthy body to make a healthy baby,” explained naturopath and author, Lisa Guy. “It takes three months for female eggs to mature and four months for sperm to mature which is why it is so important to consider preconception care as early as possible, at least four months in advance, to increase your chances of a successful, healthy pregnancy.”

“Being healthy while trying to conceive is vital for both you and your baby. The preconception period is the time to make life changes for you and your partner that can help boost fertility, reduce problems during pregnancy and assist in recovery from birth,” added Lisa.

Here, Lisa outlines her essential tips for preconception care;

1. Examine your diet

At no other time in your life is your diet more important than before, during and straight after pregnancy. Eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet is vital and will increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. Try to include at least five portions of fruit or vegetables, protein, fish and some iron-rich food in your diet and make fast food and sweets an occasional treat.

2. Take essential supplements

Although nothing takes away from the significance of a healthy, well-balanced pre-pregnancy diet, nutritional supplementation is extremely important and is known to help prevent congenital defects and malformations often caused by nutritional deficiencies. Taking a supplement every day is a small change that will pay big rewards. When planning pregnancy, there are three essential vitamins and minerals your body needs:

  • Folic Acid: Essential for healthy foetal development and reducing the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida, folic acid is crucial in pre-pregnancy. You should consider taking folic acid three months prior to conception. Each FABFOL tablet contains 500mcg of folic acid which is the recommended daily intake for the Australian diet.
  • Zinc: Zinc works to support and strengthen the immune system and is important for hormone balance and to boost fertility.
  • Omega 3: Increasing the intake of omega 3 fats helps support reproductive health.pregnancy

3. Kick unhealthy habits

Making some important lifestyle changes is a great way to prepare for pregnancy and will help ensure a healthy conception. Avoid anything that poses a health risk to you and your baby such as alcohol, cigarettes and some prescription medication.

4. Visit your GP

A trip to your GP for a preconception consult is also important when you begin thinking about starting a family. Your GP will provide you with expert advice on planning your pregnancy, discuss any health problems or concerns, lifestyle issues, diet and organise any essential pre-pregnancy immunisations.

FABFOL has all your nutritional needs covered pre, during and post pregnancy, so all you need to focus on is your growing baby and is available from pharmacies nationally. FABFOL 56 tablets RRP $24.95.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Is there anything that yoga can’t do? Not only is prenatal yoga good for you, but it’s also great for your baby! There are many institutions all over the country which offer great yoga classes for you and your unborn baby – with stellar results.

Prenatal yoga is divided into three different levels – one for the first-trimester, second and then the third and final trimester just before the baby is due. Below you can find just a few ways prenatal yoga is good for you and your baby, and how to get started.

RELATED: What is Laughter Yoga?

Not only does it help you stay in shape during your pregnancy, yoga also keeps your muscles nice and toned, improves circulation in the body, and helps with a variety of breathing exercises that will keep you calm and centred during labor.

One of the first steps of any yoga classes doesn’t actually focus on the arms or legs at all – instead it teaches you ujjayi. This technique means that you breathe in through your nose and completely exhale through your mouth, leaving your stomach to decompress.

Yoga tips

First-trimester

  • Before you embark on your first ever prenatal yoga class, it’s a great idea to drink a lot of water. Sometimes yoga can feel physically exerting, so it’s always good to keep your body hydrated. 
  • Take a deep breath after every movement. With each class, this will be easier to remember, and soon you’ll find your body just does it naturally after every rhythm.

Best yoga position: Side-lying position

This is one of the best positions to end a class, and is suitable for women in their first, second or third trimester. Feel free to take as long as you want with this position, and practice breathing.

Second-trimester

  • Your instructor will let you know which poses to avoid, and which to embrace since your joints will begin to loosen up due to pregnancy. As a general rule you should avoid lying on your back, since the weight of the baby isn’t comfortable and it could block blood flow.
  • Don’t rush into every position. Remember to take your time and listen to your body. If you feel extremely strained and tired, it’s best to take a break and ease back into the position later on.

Best yoga position: Cat Cow

This position is perfect for women who are in the early stages of their pregnancy. The exercise focuses on stretching the back muscles, and relieving any tight back pain.

Third-trimester

  • If you’re well into your trimester, you may feel that your sense of balance is compromised, and it’s harder to perform some of the standard poses. Use a chair to keep your balance, and remember to go slow and don’t rush into anything.
  • It’s important to keep your body moving, so don’t hold poses for a prolonged period of time.
  • Focus on breathing exercises which will help you in labor. Sometimes this could mean just reinforcing the ujjayi technique over and over again.

Image via Fitta Mamma

Why You’re Having Pregnancy Sex Dreams

A good friend of mine, who’s mere weeks away from giving birth to her second child, recently had a hilarious, X-rated dream about a handsome Indian man who skilfully pleasured her, then fed her pappadums. Win, win!

And, confession time: I too had many such pregnancy sex dreams during both of my pregnancies; I was a right hornbag, to quote Kath and Kim.

Related: 7 Tips To Make You Feel Amazing During Pregnancy

This is all good and well, until you wake up from such an erotic dream, only to have your husband ask you what you’ve been dreaming about, because you’ve been moaning and thrashing about in your sleep?! And it can be especially awkward if you’ve been having bizarre X-rated dreams about someone random in your life, like say the neighbour next door, or the local barista who so adeptly makes you your favourite daily coffee.

So, why do pregnant women have porn films going in their subconscious, when asleep?

Don’t panic, you’re not losing your mind: is it those crazy hormones – the bane of all pregnant ladies – to blame, yet again? Experts say yes, in part. And chillax – these pregnancy sex dreams are very, very common.

Your heightened hormones may well be the cause, dramatically increasing your libido. Or, maybe you’re not having as much sex with your husband as you’d like, now that there’s a massive baby bump in the way? Thus, your crazy sexual cravings are consuming you?

pregnancy, pregnancy sex, sex dreams

Of course, pregnant women’s dreams are more vivid and unusual when up the duff. In addition, experts say these dreams may reflect any anxiety and emotion you may be feeling about being pregnant.

What’s more, you often don’t sleep as soundly when pregnant, especially in the uncomfortable last few months before your EDD – not to mention the fact that you have to get up to pee all the frigging time – so, inevitably it’s more likely that you will remember your crazy, porn-star dreams.

One idea, and a nice way to make the most of your bizarre porno dreams while pregnant, is to keep a journal next to your bed, for when you can’t sleep, then share your crazy sex dreams with your partner. It could lead to deeper intimacy between the two of you at this tumultuous time of expecting a baby and turn him on, too.

Maybe just don’t mention the pappadums. Now, that’s just weird!

What do you think? Have you ever had pregnancy sex dreams?

Images via www.pixabay.com

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your Bump

Whether you’re in the early stages of pregnancy or finally nearing the end, your style will obviously change to more comfortable clothing – especially dressing for that beautiful baby bump!

If you’re currently expecting and need a bit of a style refresh to get you through those last few months of pregnancy, here are just a few ways to look stylish and during pregnancy.

RELATED: Check out the 15 Pregnancy Old Wives’ Tales here

Maxi dress

If you’re living in a warmer climate, it’s easy to throw on a maxi dress without a care in the world! Not only are maxi dresses perfect for any type of occasion you’ve got going on, but they are also incredibly comfortable.

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your Bump

We were definitely inspired by Fashion Editor Miroslava Duma and her ability to look chic and comfortable during the later stages of her pregnancy (and juggling the month-long battle of fashion week!). Pair a maxi dress with sandals or flat shoes and a jacket for a perfect look.

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your Bump

Coats

The colder weather isn’t really that bad, since you can throw on a comfy coat over almost anything! Whilst comfort is most definitely key, you can accessorise with a number of different coats – wool coats, trench coats, chiffon coats and adapt them to the occasion and also the weather.

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your BumpKaftans

Looking for the perfect cover-up for the beach or simply just the warmer weather? Kaftans are a great dress for pregnant girls since they aren’t restricting, and you can easy slip in and out of them at any given time.

Dress this look up for the evening by pairing a kaftan with a sexy pair of gladiator sandals (or heels, if you dare!).

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your BumpTunics

Another great alternative to a dress is a funky tunic. You can choose to wear this item as a dress, or even as a top since it’s extremely roomy and won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable throughout the day or night. If the weather is a bit chilly, pair with leggings and form-fitting blazer over the top.

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your BumpShawl

An evening shawl is the finishing piece to an outfit that comes in many different colours, shapes, sizes, and fabrics. Simply pop it over your shoulders if you’re feeling chilly, or even wear it over one shoulder for the perfect spring accessory piece.

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your Bump

Cropped jacket

A cropped jacket or blazer is a great piece to own, if you’re pregnant in the colder months. Not only is it a comfortable and stylish item, but it frames the body nicely by emphasising your growing baby bump! No need to go out and buy a new jacket, save some money by styling an existing piece from your closet.

Pregnancy Style: Dress For Your Bump

Images via Fashionising, Zaychishka, Natasha Goldenberg, Daily Mail

Water Birth: Pros And Cons

I was mildly curious about water birth, but I didn’t think it was the right option for me until I got a midwife, who was a big water birth advocate. She kept on asking me about it until I finally added it to my birth plan, with the provision that I could change my mind when the time came, if I really didn’t feel like getting into that pool.

As it turned out, I didn’t change my mind. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get in. Before that I was trying to control the pain with hot water packs and the pain kept on escaping me. When I put the hot water pack on my belly, the pain would move to the back. When I held one to my back, the pain would travel to the sides. Once in the water, there was warmth all around me and it brought instant relief.

Why choose water birth?

  • The warm water is very effective pain relief.
  • Peaceful birth. The warm water environment feels more like the uterus to the baby and is said to contribute to a less stressful transition. I can’t confirm if this was true or not for my baby, because the first moments after the birth remain very hazy. There didn’t seem to be excessive crying or I would remember, but then I didn’t experience excessive crying with any of my non-water babies, either.
  • More privacy. While you’re not very like to care how many people see you naked while you’re giving birth, it’s still nice to have your private parts covered.
  • It was my midwife’s belief that the warm water makes the skin of the perineum softer and helps it stretch. I haven’t been able to find scientific evidence that this is exactly what happens, but there’s research showing that women are less likely to experience tearing during water births. That was my experience, too. I didn’t feel the stretching sensation as strongly in the water and my water birth was the only one out of three when I didn’t need any stitching.
  • There’s preparation involved. It takes time to fill up the water and if your labour is quick, you may not even make it into the birth pool. On the other hand, if your labour is long, the water may get cold and would need to be refilled.
  • Possibility of infection. You may accidentally open your bowels while giving birth and even though your midwife will clean up quickly, you’d worry that your baby is being born into the same water. On the other hand, non-water birth is not sterile either and most studies have found no increased infection rates for water births.
  • Safety concerns about the baby being under the water. During the birth of my daughter the midwife explained to me that the baby doesn’t start breathing until contact with air, so I had to keep her under the water until the body was born. But if I accidentally brought her out, I had to be extra careful not to put her back into the water again. It all seemed logical at the time she explained to me, but everything got foggy in my brain in the middle of labour, so I was grateful to have people around me who knew what they were doing to direct me and make sure my baby was safe.
  • You will have to leave the pool if there are any complications and the transition may be unsettling.

Sounds great, but are there any cons?

Overall, my water birth experience felt very gentle and empowering, and I’d chose it again.

Image by PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

How To Lose Post-Baby Weight Safely

It’s only natural that new mothers want to bounce back to their pre-baby weight sooner rather than later, but in reality is doesn’t happen with the snap of your fingers. It takes time, unless of course you are fortunate enough to have a personal chef, a personal trainer and multiple hours a day to work out.

For most of us it happens slowly but remember that everyone is different. Depending on how much weight you put on during pregnancy, how much you weighed before you fell pregnant, your age and genetic factors will all play a part in how long it will take for the weight to come off again.

Here are some tips for losing that post baby weight safely:

  • Before you start any fitness regime remember to talk to your GP about when it’s best to start exercising again, especially if you’ve had a caesarean. Some mothers who had a natural birth and were physically active before the birth will be back exercising within a week whereas others who had a caesarean will take much longer, normally up to six weeks to get back in the saddle.
  • Set realistic weekly goals of how much weight you want to lose, rather than setting your sights on the end goal weight. Don’t set your goals too high though to avoid disappointment.  Slow and steady wins the race.
  • After the birth of your baby is not the time to be trying fad diets or crash dieting, especially if you’re breast-feeding. If you don’t consume enough calories you run the risk of your body producing less milk, meaning less food for your baby. Not only that but drastically reducing the number of calories you’re eating could leave you feeling irritable, less energetic and less alert, which is not the way you want to feel with a new baby.
  • New mums have little time to themselves so it can be difficult finding time to exercise which means that sometimes you need to find ways to exercise with your baby. Strapping your bub into a baby carrier or pram and hitting the pavement for fifteen minutes or more a day can do wonders for your weight loss. Alternatively you could invest in some yoga DVD’s and workout while your baby is taking a nap.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to stave off that thirst that is sometimes confused with hunger. Try adding a slice of lemon to your water to reap some additional benefits such as cleansing the bowel, boosting your immune system and reducing stress.
  • Make smart choices when it comes to eating, such as choosing low fat or fat-free dairy products, choosing foods with mono and polyunsaturated fats rather than saturated and trans fats and choosing whole grains which will keep you full for longer.

Image via iphysioperth.com.au

My Fear Of Childbirth

When I was about to give birth for the first time my husband and I expected it to be relatively smooth sailing. We thought that nothing bad could happen to our baby – those sorts of things just didn’t happen to us. But when our midwife told my husband to push the red emergency button in the delivery room as I was in labour we knew that something was very wrong. The room was suddenly flooded with medical staff, most hovering around between my legs with concern written all over their faces. After much pushing, manoeuvring and help from the staff our daughter finally graced us with her presence. It was a nervous time as we waited to hear that sweet cry and when it eventually came I’d never felt more relieved.

We were told that my daughter had been born with shoulder dystocia and that was the reason she’d been stuck in my pelvis. My petit frame and her size probably had something to do with it – she was born at a sizeable 4.375kg or 9.64lb, almost two weeks post-term.

But before we’d had much time for cuddles she was whisked away again because of a high temperature. She was given antibiotics and then taken to the special care nursery, where she would stay for the following week. The reason why she had a temperature was never really discovered nor the reason why she had an abnormal amount of bile sitting in her stomach each day. It was frustrating for us that no one could give us an honest answer to our questions. As first-time parents my husband and I were completely overwhelmed by the entire experience and felt like we were mostly left in the dark about our daughter’s condition but thankfully after 10 days on antibiotics, lots of cuddles and love we were free to take her home.

Suffice to say when I fell pregnant two years later, I realised that I’d been scarred by my first birthing experience and I was petrified about giving birth again. I also realised that I hadn’t been prepared at all for what I experienced, but how do you even prepare for something that you have no idea is coming?

A year earlier, our family had moved to a small outback town in Queensland which meant that this time our baby was to be delivered in Longreach.  Initially, I was hesitant about giving birth at a rural hospital because Longreach didn’t have a special care facility for newborns (and I was almost talking myself into believing that something bad was going to happen).

In the last eight weeks of my pregnancy, I’d been leaning towards having a caesarean because I was petrified of the baby getting stuck just as the first one had if I had a natural birth. It was apparent from examinations that I was carrying another big baby but the doctor assured us that everything would be different the second time around. I wasn’t so sure, but of course, he was right.

This time, the doctor recommended that I be induced at 38 weeks so I agreed to have my baby naturally and after a short five-hour labour and only a handful of pushes our son was born happy, healthy and loud and I wondered what I’d been worried about the whole time.

I was completely astounded at how different the entire birthing experience had been the second time around. When I was in labour with my daughter, I remember being on all fours in the delivery room as a doctor shoved a piece of paper under my nose to sign the consent for the epidural.  I looked at him with disgust and scribbled on the paper as I screamed for relief.  From the time I asked for the epidural until the time I finally felt my legs going numb was just over two hours of absolute torture. I suspect this also played a part in me becoming terrified of the birthing experience.

Of course it’s no secret that every birth is different. Childbirth can come with complications – it’s a fact of life and sometimes terrible things happen. But just because you had one negative experience doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the other experiences will be bad, too. Just as people with fears of heights, spiders or small spaces are told to confront their fears head on, I too decided it was the only way forward.

Image via Karyn Miller

15 Pregnancy Old Wives’ Tales

If you’re pregnant then you’ve probably experienced people trying to guess the sex of your baby, even if you aren’t interested in hearing it. If you’ve chosen not to find out the gender then you can bet your buck that everyone around you will have their opinion about the sex and you probably won’t hear the end of it until your bub is born.

So here are some of the most common old wives tales about pregnancy. Some are absurd but equally amusing so let us know if you can relate to any of them:

  1. If you’re carrying your baby low then you’re having a boy and if you’re carrying high you’re having a girl.
  2. Legend has it that if your baby’s heart rate is higher than 140 beats per minute you’re going to have a girl whereas if the heartbeat is slower you’ll be having a boy.
  3. If your looks deteriorate when you’re pregnant you’ll be having a girl because she’s stealing your beauty.
  4. If your wedding ring swings back and forth when you’re holding it above your belly  suspended on a piece of your hair, you’re having a girl.  If it swings round in circles you’ll be graced with a boy.
  5. If you’ve experienced heartburn all throughout your pregnancy it means your baby will be born with plenty of hair.
  6. If you’re experiencing more acne than you’re used to during pregnancy it means you’re having a girl.
  7. If you skin is soft you’re likely to be having a girl but if it’s dry you’re having a boy.
  8. If you’ve been suffering with morning sickness you’ll be having a girl and if you’ve been morning sickness free then it’s a boy!
  9. If you’ve been sleeping on your left side at night you’ll be having a boy and if you prefer the right side you better start buying pink.
  10. If you find yourself reaching for your socks at night time because of cold feet, you’re having a boy.
  11. If you’ve been suffering with lots of headaches you’re having a boy.
  12. If you’re feeling moodier than usual then you’re having a girl.
  13. If your locks are glossy and thick then you’re having a boy but if your hair is dull and brittle you’ll be having a girl.
  14. If the hair on your legs is growing faster than it was pre-pregnancy then you’re having a boy.
  15. If the linea nigra (dark line on your belly) stretches from the pubic area to your belly button it’s a girl and if it stretches all the way up to your ribcage it’s a boy.

Image via blogcdn.com

To Have Or Not To Have The 12-Week Scan?

As you’re approaching the end of the first trimester, you’re probably feeling better and already looking forward to meeting the new member of your family. The opportunity to see your baby for the first time usually comes at 11-13 weeks in the form of an ultrasound screening test called nuchal translucency (NT), which is used to assess your baby’s risk of Down syndrome and some other genetic abnormalities. You’d also have a blood test at the same time and the chance of your baby having Down syndrome is calculated based on these two tests and your age.

The test outcome is not a conclusive diagnosis. It can’t tell you for sure if your baby will have a Down syndrome or not, it can only give you the probability of it happening. If you want to have a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, you’ll have to have further testing which comes with a risk of miscarriage (although a non-invasive testing has recently become available at extra cost).

Before you decide to have the test, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re doing it and how you’d react to various possible results. Will you proceed with all the necessary tests and then terminate the pregnancy if your baby is found to have Down syndrome? Would you take the risk of miscarrying a perfectly healthy baby just to find out for sure? Or will you keep your baby no matter what? And would possible high probability score make you stress for the rest of the pregnancy?

All these questions were weighing heavy on my mind the first time I was about to have the scan. By the end of the first trimester I felt already madly in love with my baby and I couldn’t even contemplate an abortion, regardless of what test results said. Besides, even if the results came back , for example, as 1 in 4 probability, which is extremely high, I was still 3 times more likely to have a healthy baby than not and further tests were going to put that baby at risk (non-invasive testing wasn’t available back then). That’s why I was hesitant to have the NT scan in the first place. Of course, it would be nice to end up in the low risk category and gain peace of mind. But what if I didn’t?

Statistics show that only 5% of the women who take the test fall into the high risk group. And of those with high risk, 96% will have healthy babies. Yet the doubt will be there nagging at me. What if? There was also the possibility of family pressure to consider. I wasn’t sure how my family and friends would react in the event of a high probability and I had a suspicion that they might not be as supportive as I’d like (maybe, I was wrong).

I ended up pulling out at the last moment, even though I had the scan already booked. I declined it with my next two babies, too. By that time I’d done all the thinking already and it was a no-brainer. I just went on with my job of growing healthy human beings.

Whether you choose to have the scan or not, don’t do it just because it’s there and everyone else is doing it. Talk to your doctor, weigh up your pros and cons carefully, and get counselling if you need it.

Image by PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

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