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Archive for December, 2009

Reproductive Exhaustion: If you have experienced years of hormonal birth control or have never had consistent cycles, you may need to boost your body’s mineral storage in order to regulate or help start your periods again naturally. Start taking a high quality prenatal vitamin and mineral, most often found at a health food store, that contains an abundance of minerals in the formula for the best value for your money and your body. If you are dealing with reproductive exhaustion it can take six months or longer before your fertility returns to normal. Although drugs are available to force your ovulation and periods, if you have not created the platform of health required it will be difficult for your body to avoid miscarriage. Replacing your lost minerals, increasing the protein and the water you consume, and increasing your daily exercise will help to boost your ability to conceive and your ability to carry your baby to the natural conclusion of pregnancy. 

You can begin to take high quality prenatal vitamins and minerals for 3 to 6 months before conception to boost your fertility naturally. Prenatals will help you to avoid birth defects and miscarriage. Your partner can also take high quality prenatal vitamin and minerals to assist in boosting his fertility as well.  

To further boost your fertility, increase the amount of protein that you are eating. When you snack, snack on protein. Adding more fruits and vegetables, organic if available, will also help to increase the mineral content of your body.  

Increase the amount of water that you consume, when wishing to conceive, have water at your side to sip on throughout the day and evening.  

To further boost your reproductive system you can have one cup a day of the women’s tea, red raspberry leaf, the woman’s tea, can also help to boost your mineral supplies and fertility. This is also very soothing and restorative for a woman’s entire hormonal system.  

Increase daily gentle exercise to reduce your daily stress. Look to include a calming activity for yourself every day like warm baths, a nap, starting a hobby, writing, listening or playing music. Any activity that helps you to feel calm and quiet for about twenty minutes. 

Learn to locate your 8 days of fertility in each cycle. By locating your ovulation pattern you will gain control over your fertility throughout your life. During sexual intimacy make sure you take advantage of the potent pre-ejaculate.  

Changing your nutrition, increasing your exercise and reducing your stress level can help tremendously in boosting your fertility naturally. These steps will also ensure that you have all the building materials in place to create a healthy pregnancy and baby. Making these improvements and locating your personal ovulation pattern will help to boost your fertility naturally.   

Cycle Pain:
If you feel your cycles are too heavy and too painful then the night before your cycle starts or at the very beginning of your cycle, have an ibuprofen (Advil) once, and this will help immediately with painful cramping and will most likely reduce your flow by half throughout your cycle. Learn when you ovulate so you can predict exactly when your next cycle will start. Always circle the first day of your cycle on your calendar, this is an important day. 

Check out the book Cycle Savvy for more fascinating cycle knowledge. Justisse also has an online guide for understanding our cycles and our bodies. Taking Charge of Your Fertility, also a book, is an excellent program to follow. Learning when you ovulate will also help you to prevent pregnancy without drugs, if you are having occasional sexual intimacy, so that you can avoid or be doubly prepared on your days of fertility. 

Cycle Myths: 
Women are fertile all the time. Not true. Women are only fertile the three days of ovulation (when the egg is released). In fact, a human egg can only survive up to 24 hours after being released from an ovary. The reason women are fertile for as long as eight days per cycle is because sperm can live for up to five days if the fertile clear cervical fluid is present. Interestingly enough, it is men who are always fertile. Their pre-ejaculate contains the most potent sperm, use this to your advantage if you desire conception. 

All of this information was take from: National Bestselling Author, Gail J. Dahl “Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets” Now available through major bookstores across North America and the UK. http://web.mac.com/pregnancysecrets

~ Meagan

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Managing labour pain

Labour and what to expect is what causes the most fear and anxiety in pregnant women.   It’s really hard to explain to an expectant mom “what” she might feel because every labour is so different, everyone’s pain tolerance is so different.   As a doula, I try my best to listen to your fears, explain as best I can what a typical situation is and try to provide you a road map of what you can expect in an ideal situation. 

Let’s face it: Labour hurts. And how could it not hurt? Your uterus will have to rhythmically squeeze your baby down toward the birth canal, and then your baby’s head will have to push its way through your cervix and out your vagina (yes — out that same tiny opening that you once thought was too small to fit a tampon).  While there’s no getting around that, there are ways you can get through it. Whether you opt for an un-medicated childbirth experience or choose one of the many pain relief options available.  The result is the same; you get a baby when it’s all done! 

Now it’s your tale to spin and your labour experience to create. Through the help of birth preference documents you can set your plan in place.   You can try to achieve the childbirth of your dreams.   You must remember, it is only a plan and babies sometimes don’t always follow that plan so you must manage your expectations.  You can choose to go un-medicated throughout or through part of your labour, you can turn to alternative medicine and non-drug approaches to manage the pain, or you can choose childbirth with a little help from today’s anesthetics, an experience that leaves you with little or no pain during labour, but allows you to remain awake during the entire process, able to greet your newborn as he or she emerges.

There is a variety of options to the traditional epidural, an anesthetic injected directly into your back that numbs the lower half of your body, to analgesics, and a host of non-medicinal techniques that seek to reduce the perception of pain, including massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, hydrotherapy, and more, today’s labouring woman has plenty to choose from. Explore your options, talk to your practitioner, and keep in mind that you don’t just have to choose one from column A. You may want to go with traditional pain relief only, stay strictly med-free, or decide that a combination of traditional techniques works best for you. It’s your birth, your way. 

Adding a doula to your support team will help any and all labouring women be it through a medicated or non birth.  A doula can be very valuable to a mother, her partner and family.  Although labour can be unpredictable and may not always go the way a mother may choose, it allows her to have confidence that this was the birth of her choice because she is able to trust and rely on the information from her doula . 

Studies have shown the emotional and physical difference a doula can make. She may be able to help shorten labour by many hours, help reduce the need for pain medication and epidurals, and lower the chances of cesarean surgery. Studies have also shown an improvement in breastfeeding, bonding, and greater satisfaction with the birth experience overall. Having a doula present also allows the partner to concentrate all their energies on their partner while the doula advocates on their behalf by reminding them of their birthing wishes.

A  doulas responsibility goes well beyond the labour room; her responsibilities start during the pregnancy.   She has the responsibility to provide information and listen to the family’s needs and concerns.    It is our responsibility to ensure the mother feels confident and secure in knowing that she is going to be satisfied with the outcome of her birth.   In the labour room, it may be the matter of suggesting positions, massage, and informing mom and her partner of procedures in the medical field.  The doula needs to treat each family individually because every pregnancy, labour and birth is its own unique experience. It’s up to the doula to do what she can to encourage positive communication between the medical team and the family. Positive communication makes a nicer labour experience and a more relaxing environment for all involved.  She also has the responsibility in keeping up with education and certifications.  

 It is your choice – your plan!  It is all about you, your partner, and the experience you want to achieve.

 ~ Meagan

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Most parents hire a doula because they desire more support during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.   More people are becoming aware of doulas and what type of support that they can offer.   They know and understand that a doula does not replace the partner but encourages the partner and labouring mother together, encourages their bonding during the birthing process and in no way shape or form wants to take anything away from anyone but enhance the experience. 

Numerous studies have demonstrated the value of a birth doula during the process of childbirth.   Evidence shows any woman having a baby can benefit from having a doula as an added coach, research has shown that using a professional doula will assist in: 

  1. Shorter Labours
  2. Fewer Complications
  3. Reduction in cesarean procedures
  4. Reduction in pitocin use
  5. Reduction in epidural requests
  6. Reduction in other medical prevention such as forceps and vacuums 

It has also shown to provide great benefits to the mothers directly such as: 

  1. Increased satisfaction with her birth experience
  2. Less postpartum depression
  3. Shorter hospital stays
  4. Increased success of breastfeeding 

Expectant parents have many reasons for hiring a doula that may or may not have anything to do with the research results.  Perhaps they are: 

  1. A desire for additional support during labour
  2. A history of a previous long or challenging birth
  3. A desire to achieve a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)
  4. A single mother with no additional support
  5. An inability to use pain medications and must achieve a natural birth and needs the support of a professional to guide her through the experience 

A common misconception is that the labour and delivery nurse will be providing the same type of support as the doula.   Unfortunately with our health care system our nurses are tapped out with the level of support they can provide.   Most nurses are absolutely wonderful and are there to offer medical support and advice; they will provide you with medical relief and will try their best to offer you emotional support when they can.   They are there to support you, but you must remember there is a significant difference between a doula and a nurse.   Your nurse is required to keep extensive records on all of her patients at the same time.   It’s hard for her to be there just for you 100% of the time. 

A doula is solely there to support you.   As a doula, we are there for your individual needs and care.   We will stay with you until the birth of your baby.   Not only that, we are not strangers, we have built a relationship prior to the birth your baby and hopefully you are comfortable and trust your doula.   We are there to guide and assist you through your labour.

~ Meagan

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Although many women have had multiple babies, as first time parents, or maybe even second time parents, we are extremely nervous. There is nothing like education to alleviate fear. Fear is typically the absence of knowledge and once one understands something, fear will go away. Prenatal care and childbirth preparation should be on the top of your list to help you alleviate that fear. As preparation for this experience, education is first needed. You can achieve this through the Calgary Childbirth Education Association and by having a doula by your side. Being emotionally prepared may not be something that you can learn except through experience. Support and knowledge is empowering.

One of the most common sources for childbirth education can be from books. It is important to seek out prenatal classes as well. You will form strong bonds with the new mothers-to-be in your group and will gain strength from them and their stories. Don’t forget to always remember that despite the education that you will need during childbirth, it should be one of the most wondrous and joyful times of your life. Don’t become overwhelmed with information overload. Surrounding yourself with a strong support team will help relieve the tension and anxiety of birth.

Another part of the childbirth education is thinking about parenting even though the child has not come into your life yet. A good idea is to take a parenting class or talk to other women that are experienced mothers that have gone through the process once before. Reading books and going to online forums can be helpful, especially when you are first starting out on your education quest.

Take the time to learn a little bit about your situation and it will make your child birthing experience much more understandable and possibly much more pleasurable until the baby arrives.

~ Meagan

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