Morning Sickness!? More like ALL DAY SICKNESS!- Hints & Tips from Morning Sickness Ireland to the Rescue!

 Pregnancy Morning Sickness Tips

This week’s guest blog post is written by Sarah from Morning Sickness Ireland. As a mum who suffered with morning sickness until 16 weeks pregnancy, I feel your pain! Sarah has some great tips and links for a fab support network below!

 

What is Morning Sickness?

Morning Sickness or Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP) is extremely common. Along with tiredness, nausea and vomiting is prevalent in pregnant women typically for the first trimester (and sometimes throughout the pregnancy).

Some women will only experience nausea and no vomiting.
Some women will be excessively tired.
Some women be will lucky enough to escape all of these symptoms.

Morning Sickness is usually considered a minor inconvenience, however it can have an adverse effect on a pregnant woman's quality of life and day-to-day activities, like working and looking after other children.

Tips to Ease Morning Sickness Symptoms.

Morning Sickness can usually be managed with dietary change, taking plenty of rest and support from family and friends.

Dietary Changes:

·         Sip fluids through a straw

·         Fizzy drinks or juices are sometimes easier to manage than plain water

·         Try foods with a high-water content e.g. Fruit, yoghurt, ice-cream/lollies, soup

·         Try plain foods e.g. bread, pasta, rice, potatoes

·         Eat small and frequent meals

What you can do for yourself:

·         Take a nap whenever you can. Rest is crucial to your pregnant body and is even more important when you are facing morning sickness.

·         If you can manage it, talk a short walk. Fresh air is so good for you, especially if you have been spending long periods of time indoors.

·         Prepare your clothes the night before.

·         Shower and wash your hair in the evening, just in case you’re not able to do it in the morning.

Ask for help:

·         If possible get someone else to manage cooking and cleaning. Your support system wants to help you. So ask them!

Sometimes in extreme cases, medical intervention is necessary. If you are in any doubt, or if your symptoms get very severe, always seek advice from a medical professional.


Why support is important.

Support is vital when you have morning sickness. Pregnancy is tough, but when you add morning sickness to the mix, it can be excruciating. Family and friends can be a great resource, but sometimes it is nice to be able to connect to other women who know exactly what you are going through.

Morning Sickness Ireland’s main Facebook page and Website promotes inspiration and support for those who suffer with morning sickness. Morning Sickness Ireland is there for you whether you suffer a little or a lot.

For those women who are facing morning sickness, but prefer to keep their pregnancy private, there is also a Private Support Group. Here women with morning sickness have a safe space to post questions or chat to other women with the same symptoms as them.

Morning Sickness Ireland is #here4you

Breastfeeding Wherever and Whenever I Please!

Attitudes have greatly improved, but not every public feeding has been positive…

Last week I was one of many local mums who were interviewed to help promote the new initiative We're Breastfeeding Friendly Limerick (<<< watch the AMAZING video!).  While I have many, many happy memories of nursing three of my children, the television reporter from Virgin One asked that I share a negative experience that I've had.  

The first baby that I breastfed was my daughter, who is my second born child. I initially planned to breastfeed her until she was 6 months old.  When that day came and went, I was soon feeding a one year old and very comfortable doing so anywhere.

When my eldest was 9 years old he attended a university soccer match with his own youth soccer team.  We were all spectators watching the match in bleachers one evening.  My daughter indicated she wanted to nurse, so I did so.  Simple as.  A woman and her male companion walked past the bleachers (we were in the front row) and said something along the lines of "so can I just shit here!?" while making hand gestures behind her bum that were meant to mimic explosive diarrhoea.  She was clearly disgusted with my breastfeeding as she stared at me.

I'm not going to lie.  This upset me and in that moment, I felt embarrassed.  I was at the match with just my daughter, as my son sat with his teammates.  I know had my husband been there, words would have been exchanged and some no-bullshit assertive Irish dad schooling would have occurred.  One of the things I love about my husband is his assertiveness when I might otherwise be too stunned to say something.  And I was.

I froze.  

Looking back now though, I'm happy this situation happened to me.  Sure, I was pissed off but it DID NOT stop me from nursing my child wherever and whenever I wanted.  By that point I was confident breastfeeding in public.  A newer, less confident mum may have never breastfed in public again.

My irritation came from that woman's ignorance and her attempt to embarrass me in front of hundreds of people.  For the record, human faeces is not the same as breast milk.  One is a waste product of the body and the other is primary nutrition for a developing baby.  Last I checked, defecating in public is a crime and breastfeeding isn't.  Breastfeeding is protected by law. You CAN nurse your baby anywhere and people cannot ask you to leave.

The comparison of poo to breast milk is beyond annoying.  I have heard of people comparing other body fluids, like semen, to breast milk.  I find this comparison particularly disturbing.  An old co-worker of mine compared masturbation in public to breastfeeding.  I asked if he intended to feed his sperm to babies and that conversation got real awkward real fast.  I think I made my point.

Babies, whether fed from the breast or bottle, deserve to eat whenever and wherever they need.  No parent and child should be forced into a bathroom or made to feel like they aren't welcome in public.

You are welcome.  If you're breastfeeding your baby in public, I hope you never deal with negativity.  I hope people are respectful and kind.  I always smile at mums feeding their babies and if I see them struggling with something, I offer to help.   This might mean getting them milk for their tea or picking up a toy that was dropped on the floor.  These small acts of kindness don't make me a superhero- they mean I'm a decent human being.  Make the choice to be a decent human being.

A Doula's Top Tips for Planning a Positive Birth

 Positive natural birth Limerick, Ireland
 

As a birth doula and childbirth educator, one of the most common things I am asked by expectant families is how they can better prepare for labour. Below are my favourite tips which help prepare families, so they may reflect on their birth experience for years to come and see it as something positive.  No matter what path your labour takes, these tips will help you feel more informed and involved in your experience at home or in hospital!

 

LEAVE BEHIND NEGATIVE DEPICTIONS OF BIRTH

 

We may all recall different movies, television programmes, friends and family who have described birth in a very negative way. It is true that labour is unpredictable, but fear-based descriptions of birth may be particularly unhelpful to those planning for a positive experience. We must also keep in mind that all television programmes are edited for ratings and drama.  This means that more straight forward births may not shown at all.  Every time you encounter a description or image of birth, ask yourself, “Does this make me feel more fearful or anxious? or does this make me feel empowered and confident?”  One goal  during your pregnancy may beto surround yourself with positive depictions of birth and seek out people who help you look forward to the experience, versus dread it.  There are many books that are more positive, birth affirmations are fantastic to reference and you may be able to attend free local meet ups, like Positive Birth Movement groups. 

 

HAVE WRITTEN BIRTH PREFERENCES

 

Having a list of birth preferences is a great idea for expectant families for a variety of reasons. This applies for both home births and hospital births.  Firstly, it helps you examine the many different choices you can make during labour.  While making your list, you ultimately get to decide what is important and best for you and your family.  Having this list is also a great communication tool for your midwife or doctor, so they know your wishes and can help you achieve the birth that you would like.  Every single client of mine that has gone into hospital with birth preferences has had them read by the midwife attending their labour.  When a shift change happens, the new midwife is told your wishes and reads your birth preferences as well!  Birth preferences do not guarantee that you will experience your ideal birth but it does increase your chance of having an experience where you feeling involved and informed.  You can also create a Plan B and C, should your labour go down a path you weren't intending.  

 

HIRE A DOULA

 

A birth doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support to expectant families.  They meet with mum and her birth partner during pregnancy, birth and postnatally.  They listen to, respect and nurture women as they enter motherhood.  They often help expectant parents create birth preferences that feel right for them and support whatever decisions a family makes.  A birth doula meets families where they are at and provides continuous, personalised support.  Research has shown a doula’s continuous support is likely to lead to shorter labours, fewer interventions including the use of syntocinon, pain medications and epidurals, fewer instrumental births and caesarean births.  Mothers are also more likely to see their birth as a positive experience.

 

PREPARE YOUR BIRTH SPACE

 

During labour a mother’s body creates an important hormone called oxytocin which helps labour progress and makes contractions more effective.  Often called the love hormone, oxytocin is made when a mum feels safe, secure and nurtured during her labour.  Creating a space that is dimly lit, has fewer interruptions and has items that make mum feel good can all be beneficial.  Some families create vision boards and others may put out pictures, crafts, bring a couple favourite items like a pillow, blanket, etc. to help keep the hormones of labour flowing continuously.  Think of things that would make you feel safe, loved and motivated.

 

HAVE A PREPARE BIRTH SUPPORT PERSON

 

The people you choose to have at your birth can seriously add to or take away from a positive birth experience.  They may help you stay focused and comfort you emotionally and physically.  Support persons may be a romantic partner, family member, friend and/or birth doula.  There are many ways a birth partner can assist you- be it massage, helping you change positions, applying counter pressure, protecting your oxytocin bubble by keeping the room quiet and dim, running water for a birth pool, and so much more! It is essential that they know your birth preferences so they can step in, advocate for you and remind health care professionals of your wishes if necessary.  Partners may learn many ways to support you by reading books, watching videos, viewing an online class, attending public and private classes or workshops so they feel more knowledgeable and confident in supporting you.  Many expectant mums feel a huge wave of relief when they feel confident in their partner supporting them!

 

BECOME FAMILIAR WITH VISUALISATION

 

Visualisation is a great tool to help mentally prepare for labour.  Many people who set goals, such as professional athletes, visualise achieving their goals regularly.  Pregnancy and labour are no different.  You can visualise your ideal birth throughout your entire pregnancy if you like.  You can also use visualisation to imagine your body spontaneously beginning labour (I did this a lot!), your body (and cervix) softening in preparation for labour, etc.  These visualisations have a great calming quality.  Using this technique during labour may be very helpful if you need to focus, find a rhythm or calm the mind.  Some mums visualise their contractions as waves coming and going or as them climbing a mountain where they reach a peak and then descend.   I remember being in a shower during my second labour and visualising the water flowing down my body also bringing my baby down to meet me.

 

LEARN MINDFULNESS TECHNIQUES

 

Mindfulness is something that is being advertised everywhere in various forms.  The key to mindfulness is focusing on the present moment.  This is essential during the unpredictability of labour.  Practicing mindfulness techniques can help expectant parents remain calm and confident during birth situations that they may consider less than ideal.  Mindfulness encourages parents to see the full picture and make decisions during labour using a calm mind versus one saturated with fear and anxiety.  There are numerous apps, books and workshops in Ireland which focus on mindfulness techniques.  Some are specific for pregnancy and others are more general, but both can be helpful!

 

KEEP YOUR BODY MOVING!

 

Movement during pregnancy and labour has many benefits. Low impact exercise like prenatal yoga, swimming or walking may help with pregnancy symptoms like constipation, swelling and other aches or pains. This type of exercise also prepares the body for labours where mums may spend a lot of time walking, standing or squatting.  Research has shown that expectant mums who exercise are less likely to develop gestational diabetes, hypertension and preeclampsia!  Being upright or moving during labour also has many benefits.  Studies have shown that women who are upright versus lying down are more likely to have more effective contractions, shorter total labour time, reduced use of pain relief and epidurals, plus lower caesarean birth rates.  Standing, swaying, sitting on an exercise ball, using stairs and walking are great ways to keep labour progressing and remain upright!

PACK YOUR LABOUR TOOLKIT

 

No matter what type of labour you are hoping for, it's essential to have a labour toolkit that you can pull tools and techniques from.  Your toolkit may contain tangible items like a peanut ball, CUB, a playlist with your favourite tracks, labour wrap, bendy straws, LED candles, essential oils and other intangible items- like visualisation, having a few birth affirmations you can recall and other mindfulness techniques.  Having these items and knowing how to use them often proves to be beneficial as you enter such a momentous time for parents