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Blog posts tagged with 'Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn'

How To Calm Your Baby

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

Dr. Harvey Karp suggests calming babies using a five-step method called the Five S’s. This method provides babies with a familiar and comforting womb-like environment. Some babies need all five steps, while others are calmed by just a few.

Swaddling
Swaddling increases how long your baby sleeps by preventing her from startling herself awake. You can swaddle your baby in a large, lightweight blanket; a commercial swaddling blanket; or sleep sack with her arms tucked inside. Your nurse, midwife, or doula can show you how to swaddle your baby, or there are many commercial swaddling products on the market. (For example, Dr. Karp offers an instructional DVD.) You can also provide a swaddle-like environment by tucking your baby snugly inside a baby carrier, sling, swing, or bouncy seat. Visit our web site, www.PCNGuide.com, to learn an effective double swaddle technique.

Side or stomach position
Hold your baby in your arms on her side (which may aid digestion) or on her stomach with gentle pressure against her abdomen. Being held on her back may cause her to startle easily.

Shushing
Make a shushing sound near your baby’s ear or use white noise (continuous noise such as a fan or radio static) loudly enough so she can hear it over her crying.

Swinging
Repetitive motion such as swinging helps soothe babies. Swing your baby by swaying, rocking, jiggling, or gently bouncing with her on an exercise ball. You also can gently swing her from side to side in a hammock made by holding two corners of a blanket while someone else holds the other two corners. To give yourself a chance to eat or rest, consider using a baby swing.

Sucking
Let your baby suck on a pacifier or your finger. Feeding her can also calm her; however, you’ll have likely already tried this as a calming technique, because hunger is a typical reason for crying.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Post Partum Mood Disorders (PPMD)

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

Myth: All women feel sad, anxious, or angry after giving birth. The feelings will go away if I just “tough it out” or ignore or deny them.
Fact: Acknowledging how you feel and getting help will speed your recovery.

Myth: Having PPMD means I’m a weak person.
Fact: Strong, intelligent women have PPMD. You didn’t cause the condition by anything you did.

Myth: Having PPMD means I’m a “bad” mother.
Fact: Many women with PPMD think only “bad” mothers ever get angry or have thoughts about hurting themselves or their babies. It may help you to know that these thoughts don’t make a mother “bad.” All mothers do the best they can, and women with PPMD who recognize that these thoughts are harmful don’t act on them.

Myth: If I take medication for PPMD, I can’t breastfeed.
Fact: Medications that are compatible with breastfeeding exist. Check with your caregiver or therapist.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Getting Your Body Back after your Baby

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Q: I know I should exercise to help my recovery, but I just can’t find the time. What can I do?

A: As your baby grows and begins to need your care and attention less frequently, you’ll have more time for exercise. In the beginning, exercising outside the home might not appeal to you. If you’d rather avoid the hassle of having to look presentable and getting to class on time exercise at home with your baby by dancing with him or doing postpartum exercises with him next to you. No matter how long it’s been between showers, you’re the best thing your baby has seen! When you feel ready, schedule walks with other new mothers or take a postpartum exercise class to motivate you to get moving and reconnect with the outside world.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Getting Some ZZZ's After Your Baby's Birth

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et a

Helpful Information: Getting Some ZZZ’s After Your Baby’s Birth

Recipe for Sleep in the First Weeks after the Birth

Many first-time parents use the following approach to get an adequate amount of sleep until their babies begin to sleep for longer stretches.

  1. Ask yourself how much sleep you needed before pregnancy to function well. Six hours? Eight hours? That’s the amount of sleep you now require every day.
  2. Because feedings and baby care prevent you from getting this amount of sleep in one stretch, you’ll need more time in bed to meet your sleep requirement. Stay in bed until you’ve slept enough (meals and trips to the bathroom are obvious exceptions). Each time you wake up, keep a mental note of how long you slept.
  3. Don’t brush your teeth, shower, or dress until you’ve met your sleep requirement. If you require eight hours of sleep, it may take from 10 PM until noon (or later) the next day to get out of your pajamas!

Notes: You may find that having your baby sleep with you (or in the same room) makes it easier to get enough sleep, because you can care for your baby quickly. Also, if you have other children, this approach may require the help of another adult who can care for them while you sleep.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

What are "natural" or "slow" C-sections?

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Q: I’ve heard of “natural cesareans” or “slow cesareans.” What are they?

A: Historically, cesareans were emergency procedures that emphasized rapid delivery and immediate access to the baby for resuscitation. As cesareans have become more commonplace and oftentimes less urgent, some obstetricians have begun doing the surgery more slowly and encouraging immediate skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby after the delivery. This woman-centered, baby-friendly way of doing cesareans is new, and your caregiver might not be aware of it. Learn more about natural cesareans and find a journal article to share with your caregiver by visiting http://tinyurl.com/la83t2.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

How to Support Your Belly After a C-section

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Helpful Information: How to Support Your Belly After a C-section

When you first get up after a cesarean, it may feel as though your belly is sagging and needs support. It may even feel as though your insides are shifting around. Your belly may hurt whenever you change positions, cough, or laugh. To support the area during these times or whenever you need comfort, try using your hand, a pillow, or a rolled-up towel to press gently against your incision area.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Is a C-section Safer for Moms and Babies?

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Fact or Fiction? Because a planned cesarean is more predictable and controllable, it’s safer for mothers and babies.

Fiction. While cesarean surgery is a vital tool for coping with high-risk situations, it’s not safer than a vaginal birth and shouldn’t be used without a clear medical reason. Studies show that low-risk mothers who had planned cesareans are nearly three times more likely to suffer from severe complications or die than those who had vaginal births. Likewise, babies born by planned cesareans are more likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In one study, the chance of infant death was 1.77 per 1,000 for babies born by cesarean. By comparison, the chance of death was 0.62 per 1,000 for babies born vaginally.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

How To Comfort Your Partner During Labor

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Use this routine when your laboring partner is in despair, weeping, crying out for help, or ready to give up. Also use this technique when she’s overwhelmed with pain, can’t relax, and can’t regain her coping rhythm or ritual.

• Keep your composure. Your touch should be firm and confident. Your voice should be calm and reassuring. Give simple, concise directions. Don’t ask her questions.
• Stay close to her. Remain by her side with your face near hers.
• Anchor her. Hold her hand or cradle her in your arms.
• Make eye contact. Tell her to open her eyes and look at you or at your hand. This helps her focus.
• Give her a rhythm to follow with her breathing; move your hand or head to set a pace for her to follow (about one breath per each second or two). If she loses the rhythm, say, “Breathe with me; follow my hand. That’s the way, just like that.” Nod your head in time with her breathing to reinforce the rhythm.
• Encourage her. Acknowledge that labor is difficult, but not impossible. Remind her that she’s made a lot of progress and that her baby will be here soon. Tell her to look at you the moment she feels the next contraction so you can help her. Immediately set a rhythm for her to follow.
• Repeat yourself. She might not be able to do what you tell her for more than a few seconds, but repeating your instructions will help her continue.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Water Births

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

The idea of water birth appeals to some expectant parents as a relaxing and gentle way to bring a baby into the world, and they seek out a birthplace and caregiver that support this option. Many caregivers who attend births at homes and at freestanding birth centers (unaffiliated with a hospital) are comfortable with water births. Sometimes a woman who hadn’t planned ahead for a water birth discovers during labor that a bath is so relaxing and helpful for relieving pain, she doesn’t want to leave the water when she’s ready to push. If she’s giving birth in a hospital, however, she might not have a choice. Although laboring in the bath is common in most U.S. and Canadian hospitals, few have policies that allow women to give birth in water. Many hospital administrators (and caregivers) have the following objections to water births:

  • Concerns about the baby’s safety
  • The caregiver’s need to master new techniques to facilitate birth positions and to protect the woman’s perineum
  • The physical agility needed by the caregiver to deliver the baby
  • Extra difficulty managing a difficult or complicated birth
  • Other practical concerns, such as extra precautions for infection control (for example, shoulder-length gloves for caregivers and nurses) and insufficient room around the tub for access to the woman

Although these concerns can be addressed, few U.S. and Canadian hospitals do so. If you’re interested in learning more about water birth, visit Waterbirth International.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

How Late is Too Late for an Epidural?

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Q: Is it ever too late for an epidural?

A: You may have heard that it’s best to receive an epidural in early labor because you won’t be able to receive one in late labor. It’s true that if your labor is progressing quickly and birth is anticipated within thirty to sixty minutes, your caregiver may recommend against an epidural. However, if labor progress is slow, it’s possible to receive an epidural even during transition or the second stage. If comfort techniques are helping you cope, don’t feel that you have to get an epidural in early labor because you fear it’ll be your only chance to get one. Keep using comfort techniques for as long as they help you manage contractions. If you decide later that you want an epidural, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to get one.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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