Archive of ‘PREGNANCY’ category

Due Dates and Holidays

It’s not surprising that the rates of induction go up during the holiday season.  Everyone wants to be home for the holidays (including new parents and their care providers).  If you could look into a crystal birth ball though and see what induction could mean for you and your baby,  I wonder if you’d be so eager to hurry your little one along.

Induction takes a normal, physiological process and turns it into a medical event, with the need for extra monitoring and procedures.  It is not recommended for any pregnancy where there is not a true medical need for a baby to be born sooner rather than later.  The reason for this is that it comes with it’s own risks for both mother and baby.

It can be life-saving when medically necessary, but it can also cause a host of problems when it’s not.

Let those babies bake this holiday season and they will arrive right on time.


My Favorite Birth Quote

“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers--strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”

This is what birth experience is all about.  It’s not about medals, or being better than anyone else.  It’s about starting this new season off in a way that shows you that you’re stronger than you could ever imagine!  Birth is the perfect start to motherhood.

Is It Labor?


As your expected due date draws near, you will probably wonder how you’ll know for sure when labor has begun.  If your only exposure to birth has been what you see on TV, you’re probably expecting that your waters will break and you will immediately begin pushing and the baby might be born before you’ve even let anyone know you’re in labor.

In real life, there is usually a little more warning than that!  It is common in the weeks preceding labor, for your body to give you signs that the big event is approaching and the average length of a first labor is 12-18 hrs.

What are the signs that your body is preparing for labor?

  • Lightening.  This is when your baby drops, or his head engages in the pelvis.  This usually occurs within two weeks of the beginning of labor in first time mothers.  You might find that breathing is a little easier, but before you get too excited, it’s likely you’ll be visiting the bathroom more often (if that is even possible!) since there is more pressure on your bladder.
  •  Cramping.  Those Braxton-Hicks contractions that you’ve been feeling since the second trimester might get stronger.  You might notice that they are mildly painful, similar to menstrual cramps.  While this is not labor, the cramps you are feeling are preparing your body for labor and offer a good opportunity to practice relaxation and breathing!
  • Diarrhea.  In preparation for baby’s passage, your cervix must soften with the help of hormone-like prostaglandin, which also causes loose and frequent stools.
  • Mucus Plug/ Bloody Show.  During pregnancy, a mucus plug seals the cervix, keeping infection from reaching the baby.  When your cervix begins to thin (efface), the mucus plug can become loose and you may notice it as discharge. It is usually clear and may be thick, watery or jelly-like in consistency.  It may also be tinged with blood (bloody show), which is nothing to be concerned about unless it is bright red, or there is more blood than discharge, in which case, you should let your care provider know.  For a great visual (squeamish alert: it is a picture of a mucus plug, consider yourself warned ), click here.  You might lose your mucus plug in whole or in part, during, just before, or weeks before labor begins.
  • Waters Breaking.  This might happen as a gush of fluid or a trickle.  The best way to tell if it is amniotic fluid is to smell it, since it doesn’t smell anything like urine.  This only happens as the first sign of labor in 1 out of 10 women.  Most women will find that their water breaks well into labor, possibly even while they are pushing.  In some women (I was one of them!), the membranes rupture only as the baby is being born, or the baby is born with the membranes still intact (in other words, their water never broke).  When this happens, the baby is said to have been born “in the caul.”  If your waters break before you have gone into labor, read more about what you should do here and BellyBelly has some great info on what happens when your waters break.

If you’ve noticed any of these, it is a good sign that your body is getting ready for the work of giving birth.  Use this time to practice relaxation and get lots of rest in preparation for labor.

are you hoping to birth naturally?

If you are hoping to have an unmedicated birth, this is for you (although it could really benefit any birthing woman). Much like an athlete training for the big race, you need to prepare your mind and body for the task at hand.  Don’t leave it all to chance.  There are many, many things that you can do in preparation for your birth, to ensure the best likelihood of birthing naturally.  This is a very short list of the five points that I believe are most important.

Free printable on planning a natural birth

Print this out and keep it on your fridge or in your “birth file.”  If you know anyone who you think might benefit from this, go ahead and share it!  Download PDF.

Letter To You New Mama

-A woman, as long as she lives, willI am writing this because I was once where you are now and I would have wanted to hear what I’m about to say.  I don’t presume to have all the answers, but what I do have is a love for mothers and babies and a sense that birth itself is bigger than we know.

First of all, congratulations on creating a little human being, one who is going to come into this world in one way or another.  Whichever way baby arrives, he or she will be born and you will be a mother and will have created and given birth to a new life.  No one can minimize this, it is a huge deal and you are worthy of recognition!

Perhaps you already know how you plan to give birth, perhaps you have tried not to think about it and are hoping that someone else will make it happen.  Whatever your wishes are surrounding your birth, I would like to give you a little piece of advice (and I know that there is “advice” coming at you from all angles right now, so please just bear with me).  Choosing a care giver who makes you feel safe, respected and a part of this process, will probably be the most important step you will take in welcoming your baby into this world.   There is a quote that has proved itself to be true in almost every encounter I have had with mothers young and old:

A woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth.”  Anna Verwaal.

Choose someone to care for you who is going to make you feel like you matter!

Once that baby is in your arms, your world will never be the same again.  Everything you thought you knew about being a parent and having a newborn will melt away and you will learn how to be stretched to your limit in every way.  This is not something to fear – it will make you strong and perhaps help you to appreciate your own parents a little more.

The baby blues will come and go.  If they tend to come more than they go, speak to someone who knows about these things.   You are not alone and you don’t have to feel that way.

If you choose to breastfeed, you might face challenges, so don’t wait until the baby is born to build yourself a support network!  I can tell you from experience that searching for your local La Leche League’s contact info after three days of no sleep is not as easy as you might think!  If you have access to a lactation consultant, take advantage of this!!

If you have a partner, you might find that having a baby together will bring you closer than ever.  Often though, in the throes of sleep deprivation and the stress of a major life adjustment, the seeds of resentment are planted.  Work on your relationship even if it saps the last bit of energy you have.  Talk to each other, be honest, don’t throw darts.  Love is what brought you here, don’t forget that.

You are going to feel guilty for things that are beyond your control.  Realize what you are capable of changing and let the rest be.  Thank the nosey advice givers for their advice and then do whatever you were going to do anyway.  Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

I am so excited for you, motherhood is more rewarding than I have words to describe, but there is one more thing I have to say before I go…Sleep when the baby sleeps!


The mother who learned the hard way.