Birth interventions and breastfeeding

When we think about birth choices we rarely think about the effects that these can have on breastfeeding outcomes or on long-term breastfeeding success. In general our choices surrounding birth tend to be made in order to get us through the phase of birthing our baby which many health care professionals and hospital units see as separate from the immediate bonding and feeding that happens directly after birth. Certain birth practices and interventions are known to have effects on breastfeeding in the early days. This doesn’t mean that if you experience these interventions, you will not breastfeed, but knowing that there are issues associated with certain practices can prepare you in advance should they arise. Continue reading

Looking at the Evidence for Birthing Your Baby: Self-directed vs Coached pushing?

As you approach the end of your pregnancy, it is normal to think about and even worry about giving birth. It is normal to have some apprehension in these last few days, even if you have given birth before or are looking forward to your birth day!

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Information vs Advice: A Guide to Self Advocacy

42weeks
From the moment you discover you are pregnant you are surrounding by a litany of ‘experts’ all encouraging you in different directions.

Where will you give birth? Who will attend you? Are you going public or private? Seeing an Obstetrician? Or midwife? Or staying at home? Is it safe? What about pain relief? What will you do with older children?

It can be confusing, overwhelming, and scary!

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The Power of Words: Birth Language and Self Advocacy

When it comes to making decisions about how and where you want to birth your baby, the information can often be overwhelming. Words like ‘private’, ‘public’ and ‘semi-private’ take on an entirely new meaning. In pre-pregnancy days, these terms were possibly not on your radar, at all. And then as soon as you get the positive result, pregnancy can appear as one long decision making process. Gathering all of the information that you can and trying to ensure that it is evidence-based and unbiased is an enormous task, in and of itself. One can forget that you are your own individual – with your own thoughts, feelings, history, personality and all the things that make you who you are.

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Beyond birth – Breastfeeding your baby

42 weeks, www.42weeks.ie, AIMS Ireland

As we get closer to the end of our pregnancy the full realisation that we will become a mother starts to dawn! A lot of the early pregnancy can be taken up with planning where we will have our baby and coming to terms with being pregnant, including pregnancy related nausea. For most women the second trimester offers an opportunity to blossom and bloom and to research further how they will give birth and to prepare for this event with antenatal classes and pregnancy exercise classes such as antenatal yoga. At some point in the third trimester most women start to focus more on what will happen after the birth. This can make us susceptible to baby advertising and some serious commercialism! Baby clothes, nappies, furniture, buggies, slings, cots, carriers . . . the list is endless. We all love buying or borrowing things for our new arrival, but one of the most important things we can do at this time is give consideration to breastfeeding. Continue reading

Ten things every mum-to-be should know about C-sections

Lucy O’Connor is a mum of three who has given birth to all three of her children by C-section.  She blogs at http://www.learnermama.com/ and has recently set up the Facebook Group “Irish C-section mammies“. She shares with us ten things every mother-to-be should know about C-sections. Continue reading

No epidural? Pain management and alternative tips – Part 5: Yoga, Mindfulness and Breathing Techniques

Photo courtesy of Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre, Mayo, Ireland www.yogaretreats.ie

Science now broadly recognises that the practice of yoga, which includes breathing exercises and meditation, can “actually reverse the physiological signs of stress [and can] provide dramatic and lasting pain relief in a variety of conditions” (Diane Post, MD – Harvard Health Publications)

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No Epidural? Pain management alternatives and tips – Part 4: Using a Doula

Using A Doula

You are probably thinking – How can a person be pain relief?!? But the concept of doulas has been around for centuries.

The desire to have our mothers, sisters or female friends with us in labour is a primal and instinctual example of women’s abilities to act on intuition. For centuries women have given birth with the support and understanding of elder women who have the life experience to guide the labouring woman through her birth. It makes absolute sense that women would chose to labour with their mother or sister in addition to their husband or partner. Women are naturally empathetic, supportive and strong. Many have the experience of having birthed themselves, which can add another dimension to support. Continue reading

No Epidural? Pain management alternatives and tips – Part 3: Water Therapy, Water Immersion and Water Birth

The use of water during labour is used widely across the world. Apart from delivering and labouring in water, many women find using a bath or shower during labour provides significant comfort and support. Women report that when warm water is targeted where they are feeling contractions or discomfort, such as on their bump or across their lower back, using an electric or power shower is particuarly effective, with that extra water pressure providing both comfort from the warm water as well as the massage-like quality of the increased pressure. Most maternity units have showers or deep baths, whether shared or in a private ensuite, that women have access to during labour. Some units will facilitate having your birthing ball in the shower with you. Continue reading

No Epidural? Pain management alternatives and tips – Part 2: TENS Machine

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a device used for pain relief and is frequently used during labour. It emits low-voltage currents from a portable battery-operated pack and consists of a hand-held control with electrode pads which you attach to your skin to manage the pain of contractions. Continue reading