Nature's Mothers Blog

Childbirth, Parenting and Other Passions

Natural remedies for pregnancy October 13, 2010


Did you know?


* Perineum Massage helps to soften the skin and improve elasticity to help prevent tears and stitches during childbirth. Stimulates blood supply and helps speed healing process after birth. Nature’s Mother sells a blend of Olive Oil and Rose Petal Extract to use in the last month of pregnancy. Apply a few drops of this oil daily and massage into the perineum.

* Raspberry Leaf tea is traditionally used to prepare uterine muscles for labour, but is also beneficial for morning sickness, to sooth and prevent bleeding gums, relax muscles in uterus while it is contracting, assist the birth of baby and placenta and calm the cramping of the uterus. Raspberry Leaf is also a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium and contains Vitamins B1, B3 & E

* Arnica Homeopathic remedy is used for physical exhaustion, over exertion, shock, reducing bruising, sprains, insomnia due to overtiredness, aches, pains & bleeding.

* Chamomile is an excellent herb for treating various digestive disorders, is known to effectively combat stress and depression, can be used to defeat insomnia by acting like mild sedative. Relaxes muscles which can relieve cramps. Helps to heal skin irritations and can help in the fight against acne.

* Ginger regulates a whole range of body processes and thereby prevents disease. It is an excellent treatment for all kinds of nausea, including morning sickness, and is a really effective in treating all kinds of digestive problems and stimulating the circulatory system. Studies show it is as effective as leading anti-nausea medicines and is completely harmless.

* Nettle leaves are very beneficial both medically and nutritionally. They are very rich in minerals, especially calcium, potassium and iron. They aid digestion, kidney function and blood circulation and have been used to stimulate the secretion of mother’s milk, to treat bites and stings and to treat lung disorders . Native Americans used this tea to aid pregnancy, childbirth and nursing.

* Buying Herbal tea’s in loose leaf form ensures that you are getting a pure product and the recommended quantity. Nature’s Mothers teas are certified Organic.

* During pregnancy the body starts to produce more red blood cells and plasma in order to have enough for the foetus. A woman’s iron reserves will become strained and so it is important to provide the body with extra iron to meet this extra demand. Iron is also required to produce the mother’s milk which covers the baby’s demand for iron Babies absorb approximately 50% of the contained iron. Floradix contains iron in an easily absorbable form as well as vitamin C to enhance the iron absorption. It also contains Herbal extracts to maintain healthy digestion and B-vitamins for blood formation and energy release. It is free from chemical preservatives, colourings and flavourings. Floradix is suitable for vegetarians.

* Mum 2 Be stretch mark oil: Sweet Almond, Jojoba and Borage Oils blended Lavender and Sweet Orange Essentials oils has been developed to help prevent and reduce stretch marks and maintain healthy skin, whilst relaxing you and making you feel pampered.

* Active Birth can help prevent birth complications & interventions. Nature’s Mother sells the New Active Birth book by Janet Balaskas

* ALL OF THESE ARE AVAILABLE IN A KIT OR SEPARATELY FROM www.naturesmother.co.uk.

* The Nature’s Mother forum discusses pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting.

* The Nature’s Mother Forum has a resident Midwife, Doula, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter, Homeopath, and other alternative therapists to answer your questions! Join for free today at www.naturesmother.co.uk (go to “join forum”)

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6 more sleeps until Beanies due date! June 7, 2010


Well, it could be any day now! With new babies due date looming and nesting having kicked in fully, I am well prepared (and hoping) to go into labour soon!  There’s no real signs of it yet, except babies head  feels low and I have the odd Braxton Hicks contractions.  I see the midwife on Wednesday so shall see what she says.

I’m faithfully drinking my 4 cups of raspberry leaf tea every day, the occasional cup of chamomile for heartburn and to help me to chill out (although I’m feeling pretty chilled), nettle tea for the extra calcium, potassium and iron.  I’ve also started taking Arnica to help with bruising, aches, pains, exhaustion. I plan to carry on taking it until my “bits” are back to normal after the birth.  I’ve also started using my wonderful perineum massage oil, to hopefully avoid tears! It’s sweet almond oil mixed with rose petal oil, gentle and wonderful for the skin!  Still no stretch marks…I do believe I owe my thanks to both genes and my mum-to-be stretch mark oil.

Here’s a bump photo just taken…it’s a pretty big bump now. I’m going to miss it, but I’m longing to meet my new little lady now. I wonder if she’ll also be the splitting image of her daddy?!

I am feeling ever so slightly panicky that I may go overdue.  I didn’t with Erin, and I know I still would have 14 days before I may be encouraged to be induced, but still….it’s a slight concern. Apparently, your second child comes around the same time or before your first, so I’m believing that and hoping/expecting it to happen this week still!  Birth pool is in it’s box, having being trialled. It will only take about 10 minutes to blow up (if the pump doesn’t pack up!). Wood is stocked up for the rayburn to heat the water. Steven is off work. It’s raining (not sure if that’s a good thing or bad, but good weather for a cosy fire and good weather to lie in bed and marvel at a newborn!)  COME ON BABY BEANIE!

Steven and I have still not agreed on a name…we like several, but no decision has been made. I guess we shall see which one suits her most. Perhaps trial a few…one name a day for a few days…hahaha! If ‘she’ turns out to be a boy, we’re sorted…we have a boys name!

I’ve been doing yoga again for the last week or so (after not doing it for a month or more!), and am feeling really good. All signs of the sciatica I had a few weeks ago has disappeared…I do believe this is due to stretching my hamstrings a little. Just slowing down and thinking about my breathing has helped me to feel more confident too.

Steven and I have been going through the Active Birth book by Janet Balaskas again. It’s such a great book and has, once again, left us feeling so positive. I’m looking forward to letting movement and gravity help me, and I really do trust that my body knows how to birth naturally, and I’m so looking forward to doing it again!

 

13 days to go… May 31, 2010


Feeling really tired today. I tossed and turned with an achey back in the night, and was worrying about our cat who we hadn’t seen for over a day (she’s back this morning!).  The sun has come out though and I am determined to go get some…it always helps to recharge my batteries. Just had a little snooze with Erin too.  I think I’ll have another swig of go-go juice too, as possibly I just have low iron today, as tends to happen in pregnancy when your body is producing much more blood.

The good news is…Erin slept through last night for a change!  She woke up at about 6.30 very proudly announcing “all night Peppa Pig bed!” Very sweet!  She’s been a little unsettled lately, I think it’s the sense that things are about to change. I feel bad that I won’t be able to give her the attention that she gets now, but it will be lovely for her to have a sister in the long run.

Our blessing way yesterday went really well. A blessing way is an alternative to a baby shower, perhaps boring to some, but no silly games or horror stories and more focusing on positivity for the birth and preparing for being parents to a second little one.  Normally it is a woman only thing (Mother Blessing), but I feel that the father’s journey is as important and also needs to be acknowledged and celebrated, therefore ours was a Mother & Father Blessingway.  After all, Steven will be my birthing partner and he is the most fantastic dad and husband.

More people turned up than expected (some had not responded to my invite and brought their children along too), but it was really lovely, if not a little too chaotic for a while.  We had snacks, wine and juice out on the table for people to help themselves, and got down to the business of painting my belly mould.   Erin even added her touch on my right boob.  Here’s the almost-finished product…still to be varnished, trimmed and ribbon threaded through the top so I can hang it.  Isn’t it wonderful??  Very farmy and appropriate to the time of year too, I think. Steven did the yin-yang, which represents masculine and feminine, dark and light, pisces (the fish – steven’s star sign) and gemini – the twins(baby’s star sign…unless she’s way overdue, which she won’t be!).  The writing on the yin yang was me…it says “we can’t wait to meet you, to hold you, to love you and keep you in our hearts forever. May your journey be gentle” I also did a chinese symbol for tiger, as it is the year of the golden tiger. We have a lotus at my heart, a dragonfly which we’ve recently spotted at the pond, lots of beautiful buds and flowers,  sunshine, the symbol of creativity and the tree of life.

We also did hand-binding ritual with some hemp string. We sat in a circle and passed the ball of string around, wrapping it around our left hands. Once it had gone all the way around the circle (uniting us, and giving us a moment for thoughts for the birth and new baby) we passed scissors around and cut between each person, which we then tied into bracelets.  We will keep these on until the baby is born.

Steven and I also gave out candles to be lit when I go into labour and blown out once the baby has been born.

This morning we also did a trial run of setting up the birthing pool…it was all very quick and easy. It’s just the filling it that may prove a bit of a task.  You attach a hose to the tap of course, but we will need to keep the Rayburn stoked to keep the water hot.  Let’s hope my labour is this relaxing! The top ring is not fully inflated as it needs to be filled with water first.  It’ll make a great swimming pool for Erin afterwards too! Birth pool in a box

I’ve had one cup of raspberry leaf tea in today…and need to have 3 more! I love the stuff, even if I do have to put honey in to disguise the herbiness a bit.  I think it’s doing it’s job as I quite often get braxton hicks contractions, all good. Tone those uterine muscles baby!

Which reminds me…perineum massage is next on my to do list!! I certainly want to avoid tearing if I can!

I’ve also set Steven the task of brushing up on his massage and breathing skills to help me in labour, so tonight we’ll be studying the Active Birth book again together!

Thank goodness for my natural pregnancy kit! What would I do without it?!

 

Why would I go for a natural birth? April 30, 2010


With being 6 weeks away from giving birth to my second child, childbirth is definitely on my mind. I am constantly reminded that I have a little person growing inside me, by the bumping and thumping and somersaulting going on, and the little hands and feet, elbows and knees and bum, often protruding from my ever-growing belly.

Erin has developed a fascination with baby beanie now that she can actually see there is something moving in there. I wonder what she thinks really? It is rather alien even to me, second time around, and sometimes quite incomprehensible that there can be a real little person in there – someone who is half me and half Steven, but a complete individual at the same time. Pregnancy is such an amazing time. I do love it. I can feel my attention turning inward more and more everyday as the special day looms closer, and I can feel a connection with this little being who is alive and kicking, and cannot wait to meet her!

 

My “plan” for this birth, (although I know plans do not always work out, I have no reason to believe that this won’t), is to give birth in a birthing pool at our new home that our wonderful friends Andrew & Julie will be sharing with us as from next week, on the same farm where Erin was conceived. In a beautiful little private section of the lounge, where there are Buddhist shrines, a fireplace and a wonderful feeling of peace and tranquility.

 

The birthing pool is inflatable, big enough for Steven to get in with me (very important!) and looks like this. It has a little step to sit on, and handles to pull yourself forward during contractions, etc. Advantages of water in labour are many…interesting video here .

 

So, given all this, it goes without saying that I want a drug free birth and I want to be as active as possible during my birth, as I want gravity and nature to assist in the delivery of our new baby girl as much as possible. I enjoyed being in the water so much when in labour with Erin, and can’t imagine going without it. It was warm, comforting and felt safe.

So hold thumbs for us…

 

To answer a question many ask me: Why would I choose to have a natural birth if I could have drugs or a caesarean section and not feel a thing?

 

I cannot always find the right words to explain it, without making other people feel like I’m criticizing their choices (or often their doctors choices – whether legitimate or not, is another question altogether…), but my reasons are many and go something like this:

  • Pregnancy and Childbirth are not illnesses, they are completely natural and (in the majority of cases) if not tampered with and if we can let go of the horror stories we hear which just feed the fear, which causes negative thoughts and stress during birth, which I believe in many cases is what causes things to go wrong in the first place, I believe that the majority of us can and should give birth naturally. (I say this because everyone I know who has been completely relaxed about giving birth, fully trusting their bodies and believing in birth being a perfectly natural process has given birth naturally, without intervention.) The infant and mother mortality rate is lower in natural home births, than in births that have been messed with.
  • Natural births are statistically safer than births with interventions…I care for the safety of my child!
  • Childbirth is a rite of passage. It is an event that marks your progress into motherhood. It is instinctive. It is beautiful. It is empowering. It is an other-wordly experience. It is transformative. I feel sad for those who have been convinced that birth is a medical procedure, as I really feel that they have missed out on something incredibly special and important in their life as a woman. There is a saying that goes: “Epidurals rip women off of an opportunity to experience themselves as competent adults” ~Margaret Egeland
  • Epidurals, C-sections, Pain drugs all affect you and your brand new unborn baby. I just would not choose to drug my unborn child. (Obviously there are rare occasions where it is unavoidable) We go through pregnancy avoiding certain foods and alcohol and then at the most crucial moment for them (and us), we drug them(and ourselves). This goes against nature and is surely not kind. Women who have these interventions are more likely to struggle to establish breastfeeding, are more prone to post natal depression and often have trouble bonding with their babies. Not surprising when at the most important time, the minutes after birth, both are drugged, and the oxytocin (the incredible love & bonding hormone) is not released. These drugs stay in babies system for up to 5 days. I’ve seen video footage of the difference between a natural birth and one where drugs were involved, where the babies are placed on mum’s tummy. The drugged ones just lie there, the undrugged ones crawl up and find the breast within minutes. As nature intended. In how many other ways do these drugs affect our newborns who cannot tell us how they’re feeling? What are the long term affects of these drugs? Could they be related to the rise in Autism and other problems? Does this not make this important part of our journey into motherhood more difficult than it already is? A C-section is major surgery…here in the UK you cannot drive for 6 weeks. Do you really want to be recovering from major surgery while trying to bond with your new baby? We need to fight for our right to give birth naturally…very occasionally it is necessary to intervene, but not nearly as much as it happens… (it is interesting to note that if monkeys are given a c-section, they reject their babies…no oxytocin means bonding is much harder…)
  • I want to feel everything. I do not want to be numb. I want to be there, present, in the moment. I want to feel the floods of oxytocin, of ecstasy and of pain.
  • When I think of what baby is going through…from a safe, warm sack of water where she’s been curled up for 9 months, hearing my heart beating, being nourished by my body, hearing muffled sounds to a cold and airy,(and sadly- often clinical) spacious world with gravity, loud noises, bright lights, to breathing on her own, eating on her own…I want to travel with her. I also want to feel something. I want to feel everything. I want to laugh and cry. I want her to be caught by me or passed straight onto my body for skin to skin contact with her new, soft, warm, slippery body. I want to be there for her 100%, help to reduce the shock of her transition to being a little earthling. I do not want her to be swept off and weighed, fingers and toes counted. I do not feel this is necessary, certainly not immediately. I want the best for her, naturally, I’m her mother.

By the sounds of it the birthing situation in South Africa is similar to that in America…over medicalised and a money making racket (In the US a hospital birth costs an average of $13000 and a homebirth with midwife costs $4000 and is safer!). Doctors make us believe that we cannot birth naturally, that we should not trust our own bodies and that we should trust them only (possibly not intentionally). They install a kind of fear that if we don’t listen to them we will have problems. I would love all my friends (South African and American especially) to watch Ricki Lake’s film called “The Business of Being Born”. Trailer here http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/trailer.php

 

It is indeed safer (statistically) to have a normal vaginal birth. The safest place for this is at your home or birthing unit with a midwife, because then you are not being pressured into having Pitocin (to hurry things up) and then an Epidural (because now the contractions are too strong too suddenly) and then more Pitocin (because the Epidural weakens the contractions) and then you can’t feel the contractions but the baby can and goes into distress and you end up having an emergency c-section…. This all puts so much stress on your body and your brand new baby. Do your research before having a baby and know what you want.

 

Of course there is a time and place for c-section and other drugs, and thank God for them because they have saved lives. But the extent to which they are used nowadays is completely unnecessary and often just for the convenience of the doctor (which is why most c-sections are at 4pm or 10pm – before supper and before bed time), and often cause way more complications for mom and baby afterwards.

 

I believe being active in your labour plays a huge part in a succesful birth too. When you are lying on your back, you cannot use your tummy muscles properly, your pubic area is possibly at it’s smallest and you are not working with gravity. When squatting or kneeling or standing, you are working with gravity. Baby’s head is going in the right direction. You automatically move your hips, helping baby to do the twists and turns it needs to do in order to come out between your pelvic bones. As nature intended.

 

Squatting or kneeling are also the best positions to reduce the risk of tearing or episiotomy’s. Think about it, squat and have a feel…everything is open wide…so different to when you are stranded on your back like a helpless turtle, with doctors holding your legs up and shouting orders at you.

 

The long and short of it all is that our bodies instinctively KNOW how to birth. All we have to do is listen. And enjoy the awesomeness of pushing out your own child and knowing that this is the kindest thing you can do for both of you.

Preparing your mind and body for this special day is so important. Do some gentle yoga, read about active birth, don’t listen to horror stories, believe in yourself and use gentle herbshomeopathyperineum massage oil, stretch mark oil,Floradix and relaxation techniques. Wonderful kit of goodies here!

 

Trust yourself. Trust your body. Have an amazing birth, bring your child into this world calmly and safely and be empowered!

 

 
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