Unassisted Pregnancy: Naturally Managing Complications Natural Alternatives to Medications and Procedures

From Tips for Mother and Baby

This goes along with the question of “What if something goes wrong?” As I’ve already said in other articles, the simple answer is that the mother will handle it. Many freebirthers prefer to think of complications as ‘variations of normal’ that happen during pregnancy, labor, and birth. While the majority of pregnancies are low-risk and very safe, not all are completely uneventful. If they become too severe, the mother should of course see a doctor or midwife. However, many of these issues can be managed at home by a well-informed mother. There is no reason to panic!

Preeclampsia is pregnancy-induced hypertension or, in other words, high blood pressure. It is also called toxemia. It is common in first time mothers, teenage or multiple pregnancies, and women over 40. Smoking, drinking, and other unhealthy lifestyle practices can increase the risk of preeclampsia. There may also be a genetic factor. It occurs once the pregnancy has reached 20 week gestation. It happens in only 5-8% of pregnancies, and those with healthy lifestyles are very unlikely to be affected by it. Preeclampsia can cause low birth weight babies by depriving the placenta of blood. It can develop into eclampsia, which will cause seizures, but this is very rare–especially for those who recognize the condition and treat it.

Mild preeclampsia will cause high blood pressure, water retention, and protein in the urine; you may swell more than usual and notice your pee is cloudy. Severe preeclampsia causes headaches, blurred vision, light sensitivity, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and shortness of brush. When a mother suspects preeclampsia, she should take it easy and get lots of rest. There are many things she can do to help lower her blood pressure. These include limiting salt intake, drinking more water, and avoiding unhealthy foods and substances like fried foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Exercising 30 minutes a day will also help. Preeclampsia is rare in those who do this regularly, so these methods are great for both prevention and treatment of this complication.

Bleeding is common during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. As many as 20-30% of women bleed early on, and only half of them have miscarriages. Bright red bleeding or gushes of blood are signs of trouble. Do not wear a tampon if you are bleeding, and stop douching and having sex. Bleeding can be caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, or placental problems such as previa or abruption. Miscarriage is the most common, occurring 15% of the time. Ectopic pregnancies happen in about 1 in 60 conceptions. Molar pregnancies are extremely rare and end in miscarriage. Treatment should include lots of rest, as well as palpitating the stomach for placental location. In this situation it would be very wise for a woman to see a doctor or midwife in hopes of diagnosing the problem and treating it. In many cases, miscarriage cannot be prevented, but in late pregnancy, a C-section could save the baby’s life. Bleeding should be taken seriously.

Gestational diabetes is temporary and is cured by delivery of the baby. For some reason, during pregnancy, the body may stop producing enough insulin. Other names for it include glucose intolerance and carbohydrate intolerance. It occurs most often in older or overweight women, and there may be a genetic factor. Only 2-5% of all pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes. It can cause macrosomia (or large birth weight). This increases risk of labor complications, like shoulder dystocia. The newborn may have hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, which usually clears itself up in a few days after a few breastfeeding sessions. The baby may be hungry, shaky, sweaty, dizzy, tired, weak, or more prone to crying, but he should recover quite quickly without any serious side effects. It could also cause jaundice, which also clears up on its own.

If a mother feels very thirsty, is peeing more often, is tired or nauseated, develops many infections, or experiences blurred version, she may have gestational diabetes. She can confirm it with a simple blood test, done at home if she likes. If gestational diabetes is suspected, it is best to err on the side of caution and begin treatment. A healthy diet is the best treatment. The mother should limit her intake of simple sugars and carbohydrates, get lots of rest, and exercise. Natural sugars, such as those found in fruits, are much safer. Snacking on healthier foods will make a big difference. Like preeclampsia, a healthy lifestyle is both good prevention and good treatment.

Severe nausea and vomiting can be a sign of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and multiple pregnancy. However, it does not always mean something is wrong. Some women just have very bad morning sickness that lasts throughout the pregnancy. A mother suffering from this should keep her eyes open for signs of a complication without worrying herself too much. Eating more, sticking to foods she can keep down, and ingesting lots of ginger can help her deal with it. Sleep-deprivation can be linked to these symptoms, so mothers should get lots of rest. Drinking lots of water will prevent dehydration and may help with the nausea.

Carrying multiples isn’t really a complication, but a variation of normal. It can make for a more difficult pregnancy and increase risk of certain afflictions. The average woman has a chance of only 3% of naturally conceiving twins. Fraternal twins are more common, and triplets occur in only 1 in 8,000 births. Twins are more likely to occur in women who are taking fertility medications, eat lots of conventional foods with additives, have had 4+ pregnancies or already delivered twins, or are overweight. A family history of twins increases that chance, as does cultural background, for African Americans are more likely to conceive multiples. The percentage increases every few years for women over the age of 30. Yams and high dairy diets can make twins more likely, too. The risks of preterm labor, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and severe nausea and vomiting, and breech birth are increased.

 

<<To read this article in its entirety, click here>>

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Cord Blood Banking

The quote below is from the site http://cells4life.com/cord-blood-banking-overview/legislation/ as it discusses the benefits of cord blood banking. I heard about this from another site and had to find it for myself because I wondered if it actually said this as they quoted it. So upon finding it, I wanted to share it here with you. This is an attempt at manipulating someone’s perception of what’s the best option; this is not informed consent.

“Storing your baby’s cord blood preserves a potentially life saving resource that would usually be thrown away…”

 

Usually is the key word.  It doesn’t let on that the majority of the people who are throwing away cord blood, are doing so because we’re told it’s not important or necessary to delay cord clamping so as to wait until it’s done pulsating. The cord is clamped by the majority of doctors as well as some midwives, almost as soon as the baby is born. However, there are great benefits in allowing the blood to go directly to the baby and to delay the clamping of the cord.

Instead, this quote suggests that storing the cord blood so it won’t be thrown out and wasted, indicates that storing it is the alternative to throwing it in the trash – but it’s not. Delayed cord clamping is. Also stated on the site is that “cord blood is a waste product” as it defends the ethical decision to donate the cord blood, but it further manipulates the reader to perceive the alternative is to store the blood, because it’s waste/trash. It should express however, the highly valuable benefits of allowing the baby that the cord blood belongs to, in receiving it all before clamping and cutting the cord… but the number of people who would donate their newborn baby’s blood if they knew would likely drop.

There is an alternative to throwing cord blood in the trash and naturally, it’s delayed cord clamping.  If someone is interested in cord blood banking, that option is there as well, but the alternative isn’t for it to be wasted.

<<Please see my other blog entries that go more in depth regarding the benefits of delayed cord clamping by clicking here.>>

Freebirth is Not Illegal

Freebirth is not illegal. It’s also not illegal to practice self-care and to only utilize the medical community when there is a need. Last I checked, it’s also not mandatory to seek a medical perspective for matters regarding health (aka well child check ups).

That being said, please spread the word so people stop reporting families to CPS for having a freebirth, for taking responsibility for their own health and the health of their children, and for seeking the assistance of a medically schooled individual only as a need arises.

Furthermore, just because you disagree with someone’s personal health choices, still doesn’t provide reason to report a family to CPS. If you’re truly concerned, take a minute to get to know the family yourself and IF there is further concern (true neglect, abuse, an unsanitary living situation according to the appropriate standards of that is considered unsafe) – and they are uninterested in learning better, healthier, and safer ways of caring for their family, then take further action. CPS is not to be the first call you make. It’s the lazy call – and it is devastating for families that are not doing anything illegal or harmful with their precious little ones.

My family dealt with CPS in 2013 and the fear alone of the power they have made my husband and I a mess for months despite our case being closed almost immediately – one social worker has the authority to determine if children are to be removed immediately and further investigation to be had… and not all social workers take action based on the appropriate standards.

I know women afraid to not take the advice of her doctor out of FEAR that they will report her to CPS. This is WRONG. Doctors are not gods! We are our children’s parents and it’s legal and SMART to get second and third opinions to determine our best options to care for our families.

Please consider this before picking up that phone and calling CPS. I’ve heard of more cases of CPS involvement where they shouldn’t have been than in cases where they should have been. All too often, I hear stories from people about how they should have been removed and no one did anything or the opposite, they were removed and the entire family dealt with trauma as they fought to prove their innocence and get their children back.

CPS can be a great asset to families in need and to hurting children. Let’s utilize them where they are needed, please, and stop harassing families that do things differently than you. Thank you!

Not a Mark of Failure

The article below is probably triggering for some but what I have to say is only stirred by the article, so don’t read the article if you don’t feel you can.

What stirred me is the first sentence in the article, “Midwives have dropped their decade-long campaign for ‘normal birth’, saying that it made women feel like failures.”

I find it so important that we as women are encouraged, and that we encourage other women, to trust our intuition and be educated. Then, we are in pursuit of a healthy and empowering birth that we are in control of. When we are educated and confident, reaching out for assistance is only part of that and not a mark of failure. We are intelligent, strong, loving, and powerful creatures! 

Ladies, you are precious, beautiful, amazing, capable, and strong. Pregnancy and birth is an incredible journey that marks bringing forth our children from our womb, and an awesome responsibility and gift to do so. Having a birth you desire, where you are safe and cared for, where you’re left loving yourself and knowing you did all you could is priceless. Transferring in an emergency, and seeking medical assistance to provide the care that is needed in any given moment, is a part of your success. You did what you were empowered to do and sought a helping hand to ensure you continued to be safe and cared for.

That is ONLY success. ♥

<<To read the article I’m referring to, entitled “Midwives Are Backing Down On Natural Childbirth”, click here>>

herbs to ease labor, birth, and recovery

Herbs can be very useful during labor and after birth to ease pain, calm emotions, and help speed recovery.  The herbs described below have been use for years by midwives and birthing women.*

  • Blue cohosh and black cohosh are two herbs that work synergistically to bring on labor, but do not use them prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Raspberry leaf (tea or tincture) is one of the best uterine tonic herbs to prepare uterine muscles for an efficient labor. Its astringent action slows bleeding and helps to expel the placenta. Have the tea on hand or make raspberry tea ice cubes to suck on during labor.  It can also be taken in pregnancy to prepare uterine muscles for pregnancy.

Many herbs can help ease the pain of contractions:

  • Crampbark tincture can be used for uterine cramping during labor, and after birth to eliminate after birth cramping pains.
  • Scullcap and catnip relieve pain, as well as calm and relax the body.
  • Chamomile helps control pain during labor by relieving tension.

Other herbs help with emotional balance during labor:

  • Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower remedy, is excellent for bringing one quickly into focus when under stress or shock during a difficult labor. It can also be put on the baby’s forehead or wrist after a stressful birth.
  • A massage oil, enhanced with herbs, will relax the muscles and ease back labor pain. Use relaxing, aromatic herbs such as chamomilerose, and lavender. Rubbed on the perineum, it helps prevent tearing as the baby crowns and ease swelling and burning.

<<To read more herbal options for pain relief during labor, click this link.>>

9 Natural Pain Management Techniques for Labor

Deal with birthing pains naturally! This post has 9 natural pain management techniques for labor, including a birthing ball, essential oils, and more.

With my first pregnancy, I had desired a natural labor and delivery. But I didn’t prepare for natural pain management. In fact, I only read one book my entire pregnancy–Easy Labor. It was the only book on labor I could find at my local library, and it primarily addressed medicated pain relief.

After a long, medication-laced labor with my first, I was determined to find some natural relief for labor pain my second time around. With the help of my doula, some naturally-minded friends, and quite a few books and a couple of videosI was able to incorporate these natural pain management techniques and achieve the natural birth I desired.

Not everything works for everyone, but here are 9 natural pain management techniques for labor you can try:

1. The Birthing Ball

This is basically the same as an exercise ball. My doula suggested I practice bouncing on one regularly while pregnant, and I found it a huge relief during labor. I sat on the birthing ball and rocked back and forth, and I also leaned over the birthing ball while kneeling.

2. Changing Positions

With my first labor, I was flat on my back in a hospital bed for 16 hours. With my second, I changed positions frequently. Both of my older babies were sunny-side up (posterior), which lends itself to a LOT of intense back labor. I found that rocking on all fours really helped take the pressure off my back.There were times during my second labor when my nurse asked me to come to the bed for monitoring. Even in the bed, I was able to rock back and forth from side to side, which my midwife said helped the baby move down the birth canal.

3. Water!

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to experience a water birth. Even though I was able to move around freely with my second, the hospital where I birthed had no tubs in the room at the time (they do now!). But, I was able to use the shower. My favorite part of labor was sitting on the birthing ball in the shower. I rocked back and forth on the ball, draped my torso across a chair, and let my husband and doula spray hot, hot water over me. The water was the most comforting pain relief technique for me!

<<To read the remaining techniques, click this link.>>

Delayed Cord Cutting

Delayed cord cutting has great benefits for the baby and assists in their transition to breathing on their own.

“In the interim between birth and the natural occlusion of the blood flow in the cord, the infant’s brain and body are nourished with oxygen-rich blood from two sources, ensuring a healthy transition to neonatal life. If the cord is cut immediately following birth, blood within the cord and placenta, which the baby would normally use to establish lung circulation, remains trapped in the placenta. The infant will then divert blood from the other organs to fill the vessels in the lungs.”

 http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/PrematureLigation.asp