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Home birth came up as a topic in one of my recent interviews.  This Grandma of five little ones, shared her experience of her decision to give birth to all four of her children at home with a midwife.  Grandma was one of those “alternative” girls.  She marched to the beat of her own drum.  We have to start with her reasoning behind the decision to deliver her babies.

“Women have been giving birth for years before the convenience of a hospital setting.”  It was that confidence and the nostalgia freedom of a natural birth through a midwife that appealed to her.   It was a naturalized method of bringing her children into this world surrounded by the comfort of home.  It was an intimate experience having her babies at home versus an institutionalized room filled with a medical team.  “Having the right Midwife is so important”, she continued to express her feelings.

The redbookmag.com summarizes the trend of giving birth from 1900 to 2010.  The pros and cons of each change in the medical field for delivering babies.  In 1900 swung away from home birth.  In 1914, the maternity hospitals used “Twilight Sleep” This was a method which involved dosing the mother with morphine and scopolamine.  The mother slept through the delivery.  The only problem was it increased the risk for both the mother and the baby.  The Flexner report came out that 90 percent of doctors had no formal training.  This changed with legislation.  By the 1930’s, 75 percent of all births happened in the hospital. Unfortunately, this meant a 40 to 50 increase in birth injuries.

After World War II, Twilight Sleep was still common used in births. The baby boomers were in full swing.  In the 1950’s, ninety percent of the births were in the hospitals. By the 1960’s, births in the hospital were a whopping ninety-nine percent!  Then came the “Epidurals” which became popular as a pain relief during labor; in spite of, they slowed down the contractions in nearly half of the deliveries.  It was in the 1980’s when women begin to have more options again as alternative methods through a Midwife. The use of ultrasound technology became widespread, allowing parents their first introduction of their growing baby. Home birth had a slow come back by 2010.  Hospital births went down from ninety-nine percent to eighty percent.

The young mother of our story was giving birth to her first baby 40 years ago on the Island of Kuai. Sounds wonderful, right?  Forty years ago, having a midwife was not that common.  In 1983, there were 3,563,106 babies born in U.S. hospitals.  Midwives were just beginning to catch the eye of the legislation.  Later, it became a battle with lawsuits of complications in the home.  Now, Midwives need certification that include higher education of a nurse. It is important to check on certification and your compatibility.

This Mother was limited to choices of Midwives back then.  There was only one on the whole Island at that time.  To her much fortune, the Midwife was also a natural path doctor that had many deliveries under her belt.  The midwife walked her through her whole pregnancy.  The mother to be took prenatal vitamins and alpha k as the pregnancy advances. Exercising, walking, and swimming were her normal activities right up to birth.  She ran for the first 4 months of her pregnancy.   The natural path was well equipped with birthing kits, oxygen, and many other needed items at all times.  Preparation was key for any expecting mother no matter the outcome.  The Midwife’s skills were preceded by a certification.  The “mother to be” was happy about that but what was just as important was a sense of trust.  The feeling of relating to the midwife’s gentile temperament.  That good old Vibe sense you get from people of like mindedness.   The soon-to-be mother should have that for her baby’s sake. The interview revealed a young mother who had a sense of ease for the first baby but not as much for the second one. Convinced that the uneasiness transfers to the baby, she encourages other mothers to do a thorough interview.

It was a night of a house full of people that evening of her first birth.  The visitors started to leave the gathering around eight o’clock that night. As she was vacuuming, her water broke.  She finished cleaning the house.  Soon she felt pressure intensify.  She instructed her husband to call the Midwife and to put the sterile sheets on the bed.  She interjected that she never really felt pain, only pressure.  She could feel her hips expanding to accommodate the anticipated birth.  The Midwife did arrive but most of the equipment was still in the car.  “Giving birth was like being in a birth bubble.”, she describes.  “The pressure would stop, and nothing was happening.  It was like a transitional period until I dilated, then it moved very quickly.”

No drugs or tears to mend in any of her births.  After giving birth, she had to stand in order for the placenta to come out.  Once that happened, she got dressed.  She felt fine.  It was all over by eleven o’clock.  She was prepared mentally, spiritually and physically for this specious event.

Close family members were waiting for the delivery in the other room with anticipation. Giving birth was no big deal for this mother.  The most concern she ever had about the birth was the sense of responsibility of having a child during pregnancy.   Her voice reflexed serious and loving tones as she spoke, “The thought of a little human being totally depending on you for everything.  Now that is a big deal!”

Other links:

Top 5 Reasons To See A Naturopathic Doctor During Pregnancy – Abaton Integrative Medicine (abatonim.com)

15 Reasons Why You Should Consider Seeing a Naturopath — Well is More

Why This Doctor is Still Choosing Home Birth – Aviva Romm, MD

Home birth: Know the pros and cons – Mayo Clinic

A Guide to Naturopathic Doctors and Their Practice (healthline.com)

An obstetrician explains the benefits of home birth and why it carries too much stigma. (slate.com)

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It does seem surprising that research shows that journaling every day would help with postpartum depression. People who keep in mind things to be grateful for are less depressed, less suicidal, and have less anxiety.

That doesn’t mean you can’t write about what upsets you during the day. It just means that when you write inyour journal, try to spend some of the time each day writing about the things in your life you are grateful for.

If you are depressed, a journal isn’t going to replace a therapist, but the old saw about an attitude of gratitude has been shown tobe very effective in helping establish and reinforce self-esteem. Good self-esteem helps protect against depression, anxiety, and suicide.

For more information about journaling and how it can help with your self-esteem, please see my podcast.

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I would like to introduce you to a friend, her name is “Norma”.  Norma is 90 years old.  Over her lifetime she has seen many changes in this world we live in.  After Norma married a farmer in the Midwest, they worked hard every day to reach they goals that they set together.  Hard work can bring a couple together or it can put a lot stress on the marriage.  In the midst of these hard times, she became pregnant with her first child.

Family congratulations poured in for this couple having their first child.  She remembers the days and nights of difficulty and hard work with a covering of joy of this coming event with her first childbirth.

As I interviewed her about her pregnancy, it appears that she had no outstanding memories of pregnancy; however, after giving birth she tells me a frightful experience.  Norma had “Post-Partum Blues”.

Norma said after the birth of her first born, she became so shaky with depression.  She said, “It was really bad, so bad that it scared me.”  This once hard-working help mate to her husband retracted with fear, anxiety and more.  She had no clue what was happening.   She had no idea how to care for this baby and fear of doing something wrong kept her from doing anything.  She would walk the floors at night crying.  Finally, her husband sought medical attention.

She was diagnosis with severe post-partum depression.  They sent her to a bigger city where she stayed in the hospital for months while receiving mental health treatment and physical monitoring of her hormones.  It sounds like she was experiencing postpartum psychosis.  I found an article from Mayo Clinic on this subject:   Postpartum depression – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic

Norma was talking about her experience with the birth of her child as if it was scary time that she felt so out of control of her life.  She made a statement that cemented my interpretation of her feelings.  She said, “I did not know what to do.  I had to trust the doctors knew what they were doing and that was hard at the time.  I had never felt any like that before or afterwards.  I was so glad the doctors knew what they were doing.”

Family members stepped up to the plate to take care of her first born until Norma became well.  Seeking medical attention right away was the best thing that she could do.

Norma had three boys in her lifetime.  I asked her if she experience again with her other pregnancies.  Norma replied, “No, only my first born.  The other pregnancies went just fine.”

Post-partum is a drop or changes in hormones after birth.  Even though she was worried about happening again, her physician monitored and treated it at the onset of symptom.  Her other pregnancies do not carry the share experience of her first birth.

I pondered our conversation later at an appointment I had with my physician.  It is so annoying for them to ask you to point to the chart on the wall of the yellow icon faces of different emotions or to ask you that question, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how are you feeling?”  Like Norma, we do not want to be viewed as crazy or depressed or not strong.  But in Norma’s case, it was important for her and her baby to share her true feelings of what was happening inside of her.

Remember, you and your baby are very valuable.  If you have found a good physician, he knows that value.  Create positive memories no matter what physical challenges you go through.  Knowledge is power.  Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms and stop it in its tracks. Be safe and happy.

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U.S. News assesses hospitals every year for the quality of their maternity services. You may not live near one of the 100 best hospitals posted in their annual report, but at least you can read about the information they collect to rate the hospitals listed. U.S. News has just released their 2022 report.

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I was interviewing a friend about her pregnancies. She made a statement that took me back a bit.  My longtime friend of 30 years who was the oldest sibling had the responsibility of taking care of her brothers and sister.  She had no fear about taking care of a baby because she already had the experience of taking care of twins.  The words that came out of her mouth widen my eyes followed by the natural response of “What did you say”?

My friend was sitting at the table when she felt a prick in her lower region near the hairline.  She told her husband sitting there with her when she looked at him and said, “I am pregnant!”.

I have heard many stories very similar to my friend.  Women have claimed that they knew right away when they conceived. My friend said that she felt the same symptom with two of her children but not with the third.  He was a surprise.

As I pondered on her comment, my mind flooded with articles that I have read in the past.  Women who are pregnant and they do not even know for months.  This launched me into research about this phenomenon.  Here is what I found; some women are really in tune with their body.  We react to symptoms every day of our lives as the body signals us about changes.  Even Doctors will ask you, “So, what is going on?’  When we over work ourselves, the body feels tired and sore.  Our body speaks to us every day if we are listening.   The body can speak softly, or it will shout to us in order to convey what is happening inside of us.

I came across more than one article on this topic.  Professorshouse.com, explained my friend’s experience with two of her children as a “pinching sensation”.  This first symptom of conception, if not missed, can take up to 4 or 5 days for the sperm swim toward an egg in order to fertilize an egg.  When this match is made, the newly bonded couple will need to travel to their new home called the uterus.  Once they reach the Uterus, the PH balance of your uterus lining has to be just right for the survival of the newly paired entity. If the body decides to produce the needed HCG hormone in order to take care of this couple, the sperm and egg partnership will “firmly implant” themselves into the uterine wall.  At that moment, conception that women may feel has occurred.  Now, the fertilized egg and the woman becomes one by a pinch.

There are other symptoms of conception that you may feel:

  1. A strong pinching sensation in the lower abdomen
  2. A feeling of fullness or hardness in the lower abdomen upon conception due to hormone changes.  It may feel like a bladder infection so this symptom could be missed.
  3. Tiredness shortly after conception. The hormone changes use up a lot of energy from your body to keep and to grow that implanted egg and sperm.
  4. Hunger changes can happen the same day of conception. Energy needs fuel and sometimes that fuel will come from weird cravings of food combinations.  Remember, your body is telling you what you need if you are listening.
  5. Increase discharge and pelvic pain that feels like cramps. Your body talks to you every month prior to conception when you menstruate. This is no different. Just like your monthly menstruation, the body activity is moving around and preparing for the discharge.  Conception is no different.  You’re lining and pelvic changes are due to the hormones produced preparing for the growth of your baby.
  6. Breast and cervical changes will be affected by the hormone changes too. Breast will become tender; the nipples will darken.  Your doctor can see your cervix turn bluish during pregnancy.

When researching this topic of conception sensations, I found articles that do not support the concept of knowing the moment you conceived.  Even my friend that I interviewed said, the last child was a surprise.  Whether or not your experience during this magical time coincides with the knowledge of conception or not, you can journal all of your experiences to share with your children later in life.  Your doctor appointments can confirm your perceptions of your body. Do not be disheartened or afraid to share your thoughts and feelings, whether it is in a journal or with your doctor.  This is your magical time.

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I recently spoke with Paulette Smith about the benefits of journaling during your pregnancy and after you deliver your baby. It may well help you with your feelings of being overwhelmed by it all. These feelings contribute to the depression you may feel after your baby is born.

Much depression is dependent upon your environment and the feelings you have about your environment. If you feel hopeless, if you cannot manage or think you can’t manage, these are some of the reasons that depression—and suicide—creep into your thoughts.

Journaling is an opportunity to consciously think about what we are grateful for. Research shows that journaling can decrease your anxiety level, decrease your risk for depression, and increase your self confidence.  My podcast on journaling describes how you might want to share your journal with your doctor.

Women don’t often think about journaling when they are pregnant or struggling with taking care of a new baby. Perhaps you should consider giving it a try.

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I had a friend that tanned during the warm summer months.  It was so cute to see her evenly tan baby bump.  When she gave birth, her tan became darker as the stretched skin sprung back.   Have you ever wondered if it is ok to tan while you are Pregnant?  There are studies out there that link UV rays with folic acid deficiency.  Have you ever wondered if you would be more susceptible to burning or a pigment change?  These are questions that you can discuss with your physician.  Perhaps, monitorization of your folic acid will be needed or a suggestion of self-tanning sprays or creams as long as you don’t inhale the midst floating in the air.  It is important to double check the active ingredient in all tanning products.  A high concentration of dihdroxyacetone may be found in some products that carry caution for you during this time.  It is encouraged to wait on tanning until the after your first trimester for safety reasons.  In that first trimester, you baby is developing the nervous system, the heart, face, arms and legs, muscle movements and more.  A good discussion with your physician will keep you informed of the do’s and the don’ts.  Tanning beds and sauna’s can raise your temperature like a hot day out in the sun.   I pulled a few articles for you to take with you to your appointment to discuss with your physician.   It is a new adventure for you and your baby, enjoy your pregnancy with safety.

Is it safe to go tanning while pregnant? | BabyCenter

Pregnancy and Tanning – American Pregnancy Association

1 thought on “Tanning While Pregnant”

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Managing high blood pressure is the best way to prevent strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke results from the rupture of a normal blood vessel from blood pressure which is too high.

There are also ischemic strokes caused by a clot or plaque closing a vein. An ischemic stroke is much less traumatic than a hemorrhagic stroke. In an ischemic stroke, the blood is shut off in a small area by a clot or plaque. This type of stroke is generally less destructive than a hemorrhagic stroke.

If your blood pressure is high during your pregnancy, your doctor could prescribe apresoline (a kind of vasodilator) to lower your blood pressure. However, apresoline tends to raise your heart rate, so propranolol is often also prescibed at the same time to lower the heart rate.

Both the apresoline and the propranolol have been available for many years. They are effective, available, safe, and cheap medications for lowering blood pressure during pregancy.

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Today most women breast feed because there are numerous benefits for both mother and baby. The colostrum the baby gets with feeding before milk comes in is rich in antibodies and supports immunity. For mom, the oxytocin contracts the uterus and the prolactin promotes the mother’s sense of well being and promotes the milk let-down. And then there’s the bonding for both mother and baby.

At birth, the baby only needs to have its mother’s colostrum. If a baby hasn’t learned to latch on at birth, it is very important for mom and baby to learn how to accomplish this. Place the baby’s lower lip on the lower part of the areola and nipple at the baby’s lips. Sucking is a very basic instinct. Babies like to suck on everything, including their toes.

A baby should double its weight in 6 months and triple it at one year. So an 8-lb baby should weigh 16 pounds at 6 months and 24 pounds at a year. How long you choose to breast feed your child is up to you. Breast feeding is very personal and flexible. My grandparents talked about a child in their community who breast fed until he started first grade.  I had a friend who breast fed on only one breast for three years. The child would ask for breast milk. There are no set rules for how long to breast feed. You and your child decide.

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Each stage in a woman’s life brings its own challenges, Sleep can be one of those challenges during pregnancy. Hormone levels begin within the first trimester. Fluctuating hormones can cause discomfort in areas of weight, fluids, restless legs, Gastroesophageal Reflux and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Dreams can be very vivid and disturbing. All these things can disrupt your sleep. Both you and the baby need the rest. Did you know that “Sleep plays a major role in memory, learning, appetite, mood and decision making”? These vital functions are the very reason you have chosen to have your “pregnancy your way”. The collected habits and behaviors that we choose to promote during this precious time can promote a positive rest for both you and the baby. Be sure to consult your physician or midwife before taking any herb or medications to aid in sleeping. Remember you are making decisions for two. I listed an article below on this very topic so you can make an informed decision and a strategic plan for the best outcome. Make yourself proud with your performance!

Pregnancy & Sleep: Tips, Sleep Positions, & Issues | Sleep Foundation

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One of the things I learned as a student and resident, is that in obstetrics you can have a lot to say about your outcome. In other words, you can pick your outcome much of the time—not all of the time—but certainly about 90% of the time. Pregnant women so often feel they shouldn’t question the expert, the obstetrician. My goal is to provide pregnant women a safe arena where they can freely ask questions about their choices in their pregnancy and delivery. I can’t offer you medical advice, but I can tell you about my experiences with the 6000 babies I delivered.

In today’s medical environment, it is very difficult to raise questions about your choices of care. I want to encourage women to have the confidence to trust in themselves and the decisions they make about their care.

Obstetrics isn’t about disease.

It’s about preserving your and your baby’s good health.

Thank you for joining my Pregnancy Your Way supporter group!