Pack It Up!

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My recommendations (as a labor nurse) for what you should put into your labor bag:

Extra pillows (one for hubby, extra for your head, one for between your legs that will double as support for breastfeeding)

Robe

Slippers (for walking around the labor unit and your suite)

Snacks, snacks, and more snacks (for you hubby and for you, also something hydrating is highly recommended like fruit)

Camera (you will wish you had more than just your iPhone)

Eye mask (especially for when your nurse or provider come in in the middle of the night see if you and or baby are still breathing/need anything via accidentally turning on the overhead bright light!)

Rice sock, wash cloths, and handheld massager (you might want some heat, or cold and not every hospital has little wash cloths, and your hubby might get tired using his hands the entire time to rub your back)

Gum (when a lady can’t eat, gum is at least some what satisfying and a little distracting, also helpful after vomiting)

Chapstick 

Moisturizer (hospital air sucks the moisture out of everything)

At least two outfits for baby (because the one you want to take him/her home in will inevitably get poop or spit up on it)

At least two swaddling/receiving blankets (same reason as above)

Cards, sudoku, a DVD or two, a book (something to keep you busy while laboring with an epidural)

Music (especially for the mom going au naturale, and hospitals can sometimes be noisy)

Hair clips, ties, and/or headbands (no hospital I have ever worked in has these, so you’re out of luck if you lose or break one)

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Follow your sex drive while pregnant ;)

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Unless otherwise specified by your provider, you can have sex right up until your water breaks! You won’t hurt the baby by making love; the amniotic sac, strong uterine muscles, and thick mucous plug protect baby. You might just have to adjust your positions a bit to accommodate your growing belly. Orgasm, nipple stimulation, and prostaglandins in semen can cause mild uterine contractions along with some spotting, which is absolutely normal as long as they both decrease within a reasonable amount of time.

And what goes up (there) must come down! Semen is no longer able to travel up into the uterus, which means…….yes, it must come back out! Semen + normal pregnancy mucous = quite a bit of clear, mucousy fluid that might come out of the vagina. So before you think you ruptured your bag of water while having sex, remember this little tid bit 😉 If you are concerned, put on a pad for a few hours and reassess.

Some women find sex more pleasurable during pregnancy. Increased blood flow and heightened sensation to the pelvic area may result in added pleasure. Increased moistness in the vaginal canal may also be a plus. The heightened sensitivity of the breasts may be a added turn on as well. Let your partner know if anything feels uncomfortable, even if its something you were used to normally doing together.

Turned on, but not enjoying intercourse? Experiment with other erotic activities and remember that there is more to being intimate than just having sex!

And it is totally normal, to just not be in the mood, and everything I mentioned above as being a plus might be a complete turn off to you. It is so important to let your partner know how your are feeling. All the changes that come with pregnancy can make your tired, self conscious, or just preoccupied. You need to communicate and let your partner support you. My best advice to you is experiment, experiment, experiment! It might be a little forced, but the pay off in laughing about the awkwardness is intimate in and of itself. 🙂

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Green Smoothies for Pregnancy that are Yummy!!

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The health of your child starts before and during pregnancy. From pre-conception care through breastfeeding, green smoothies are a fabulous and easy way to deliver nutrition to both you and babe. You could even get rid of those horse-pill-i-feel-like-i’m-going-to-vomit prenatal vitamins for a green smoothie a day!

Try these super easy, super yummy green smoothies. Just blend all ingredients together in even the simplest blender.

1 mango

1 pinch fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups coconut water

1 large handful cilantro and spinach

OR

1 1/2 cups apricots

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups almond milk

1 large handful spinach or kale

This ain’t your mama’s pregnancy!

Most women use their friends and family as their main source of information in regards to pregnancy and birth. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Some friends and family members are very candid and ‘real’ with you, but some will be biased and they all usually only speak from personal experience. Their advice is wonderful and will be enlightening either way, but you are not them and they are not you. This is your pregnancy, not your mama’s (or best girlfriend’s)!

Medicine continues to advance daily and these advancements have us practicing differently from year to year and even from hospital to hospital. Everybody wants the latest and greatest, hospitals cater to that, which means that there are never ending “improvements.” So don’t you want to know more about all these “improvements”? Or if your girlfriend is right in saying you can’t have an epidural after 8cm? Or if those good drugs they gave your mom for labor are still available for you too??

In a new study published in the Journal of Perinatal Education, women who do not attend childbirth classes are twice as likely to be dissatisfied with their labor and birth. Childbirth classes equip you with the unbiased knowledge to make informed decisions about labor and birth. Find one at your hospital (most are free) or within your area today! Private classes are even better 😉

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Prime example of what your hubby needs to know before you go into labor…..!

{  Via Having Babies, Raising Babies | A lot About Kids, Crafts and Cutting $ (Thoughts from a Natural Stay-at-Home Mom). }

2. While we’re on the topic of labor – let’s talk about your hubby!  All along I assumed he’d be Mr. Tough Guy while I’m doing the hardest work of my life to pop his kid out, right?  Not so much… Okay actually I was pretty lucky – my husband has always been super supportive of me, especially my wishes during pregnancy and labor (ahem all natural, tell me I can do it, don’t offer the drugs, you get the idea).  However his first mistake was not going to bed at a decent time so he’d be well rested.  I mean here we were 6 days past my due date and when I told him at 8:30pm that I was going to take a shower and go to bed because I was having contractions and wanted to see if resting would make them stop, you would think he would’ve gone to bed too, right?  Wrong!  When I woke up at 12:30am and my water started to break… guess where he was.  Downstairs.  Still awake.  No sleep for him… Second mistake: not eating.  By 7am not only had he not slept since the night before – so well over 24 hours at that point, but he also hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before.  Not a good combo.  We’re talking dizzy, feeling like he’s going to pass out, needed to sit down right as I’m going through the hardest part of labor!!!  Thank goodness for my mom who not only took care of me, but him as well! 🙂 Lesson learned: make sure the hubby is well rested, FED!, and has additional snacks/things to drink during the process.  That way you don’t have to add being worried your husband’s going to pass out before the kid is even born to your plate during labor.  All jokes aside – my husband was right there by my side the entire time (with the exception of the few times he had to sit down and take a breather!) and was a great source of support and encouragement!

– author of Raising Babies, Having Babies

 

8 Things America Gets Wrong About Sex!

I’m not usually a big fan of the “Huff Post,” but this is actually a really good write up about what we have gotten wrong about sex, a few of the 8 things deserve honorable mention:

We are obsessed with sexualizing just about everything, yet we can’t seem to actually get SEX right!

1. Our healthcare system ignores certain (very important) aspects of sexual health.

– Yes, we test for STDs and have the most advanced fertility options, but patients and providers are still reluctant to discuss how to enhance life and personal relationships through sexual health. There’s no time for that in our currently fragmented and expensive medical system right? … but our libido suffers because of it!

2. We have sub-par sex ed….

–  Since the 1940s, an overwhelming majority of the American population has sex before marriage. It’s been over seven decades folks, shouldn’t we phase out the abstinence-only programs? Refusing to get real with kids about sex has significant consequences: teens who exclusively receive abstinence-only education are 50 percent more likely to experience pregnancy, according to the Journal of Adolescent Health. Countries that have embraced the need to actually educate their youth population about sex fare much better. The United States’ teen pregnancy rate is three times that of France, which hands out condoms to eighth and ninth graders. Our  government has actually spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-until-marriage programs in the past 25 years!! We could definitely put that money to better use. 

5. Our obsession with porn serves as a twisted stand-in for comprehensive sex ed.

– This leads to unrealistic expectations about sex and sexual practices. Porn also disrespects the intimacy of sex and the real connection between two lovers. TRUST ME – crazy monkey sex is WAY better with someone you are mutually committed to and intimate with. Otherwise you are left with just feeling cheap and used, even if you don’t readily admit it to yourself (it took me a looong time).

6. We don’t know how to do it very well.

– Spanish men are rated as the best lovers, while American men didn’t even make the top 10 and were actually the 5th WORST!

8. We scandalize sex, which leads to even more cover up!

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8 Things America Gets Wrong About Sex.

Dad-to-be = support-for-me (and baby): Engage your man!

A century ago, the word “pregnancy” was hardly spoken in public. It was said that a woman was in a “delicate condition” or she was “in the family way.” Birth usually took place in the home and she was usually surrounded by only women. As time went on, birth became seen as a medical problem rather than a normal life event and the woman was left to labor alone with the aid of twilight sleep. The negative effects of twilight sleep and the resulting forceps soon caused enough concern that such people like Dr. F. Lamaze, Dr. R. Bradley, and Dr. G. Dick-Read started advocating for women and to research and practice with the idea that the husband should be the “labor coach” and should be present for the entire duration of the labor and delivery of the baby they created together.

Some men eagerly take on this role, others are extremely reluctant. If your man wants to play an active role in your labor he needs some information. He needs to know your preferences about labor and why you have these preferences. He should also know a little bit about the basic progression of labor, which is why it’s a GREAT idea to attend childbirth classes together! Does he know how to calm you down when you are stressed out or panicked? He might already know, but these are still things you would want to discuss, say over a fun date night dinner or something 🙂

A husband is valued for his loving support and encouragement. No one has a relationship with the pregnant woman like her husband does. It is perfectly normal if he is feeling nervous or unsure about being your main support person. It is extremely important for the two of you to discuss these feelings before you actually go into labor…or you could easily be feeling like that woman left alone to labor in twilight…..

A doula can assist a husband, but not replace him. So get him engaged, get him excited! And get him some information! It’s in your favor 😉

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