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>>

Advertisements

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

Birth Presentation

Each pregnancy is unique and each baby can present themselves in a number of different positions at the time of labor/birth. Learn ways to help baby turn and what to expect during labor if baby is in a less conventional pose. Breech is a variation of normal, but there are certainly things to prepare for. Research to know when it’s safe to deliver and when you should seek medical assistance. As always, be informed and trust your gut.

Spinning Babies
https://spinningbabies.com/

Charcoal for Infant Jaundice

Image result for activated charcoal babies

So thankful that a friend shared this info with me. I found this truly fascinating and wanted to share!

To read this article in full and to see other uses for charcoal, go to: Charcoal for Babies

“Just like adults babies get sick too. It seems unfair that these fragile vulnerable infants have to face a world full of so many enemy agents so soon in life. For babies born in hospitals and babies born at home there are a host of unseen but very lethal organisms lurking about ready to infect their little bodies. Whether it be a hospital borne infection or something a breast feeding mother ate at her last meal, babies are not equipped to deal well with their new environment. Whether it beGastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), neonatal jaundice, infant diarrhea, colic, or accidental poisoning, in many cases Activated Charcoal has been found to be an effective simple and natural remedy.

Infant Jaundice

Even from birth many babies fall victim to neonatal jaundice. Whether jaundice be because of an inherited factor such as in Erythroblastosis fetalis, or because of a sluggish immature liver, many babies turn yellow soon after birth instead of a glowing pink.  Activated charcoal is a simple natural remedy for a jaudiced baby.

“When Nathan, our firstborn, came along, he was somewhat jaundiced. The yellow-orangish appearance of his skin and eyes was due to the build up of bilirubin, a bile pigment that was not being properly metabolized. For various reasons, the liver sometimes does not kick into gear at birth, as it should have with Nathan. Out he went into the sun for a daily sunbath. Charcoal has also been credited with lowering bilirubin levels. But, since babies are only designed to swallow at birth and not chew, we mixed some activated charcoal powder in a bottle of water and let the particles settle out. We then poured this slurry water off into a baby bottle and popped that into his mouth. After a couple of days, and several ounces of slurry water later, he was a healthy ruddy pink.

“As he grew, Nathan would now and again show signs of being a little colicky. We could only smile as he would accept a charcoal tablet, and then thoroughly enjoy playing with it in his mouth. By the next morning he would be over whatever had caused him discomfort. Later, when his brother Enoch came along, charcoal tablets were his first experience with “candy”. If only other young parents knew how powerful charcoal can be as a first aid.”CharcoalRemedies.com page 27

For jaundiced babies, add one tablespoon of activated charcoal powder into four ounces of water. This makes a good slurry that is able to pass through the nipple of a baby bottle. Shake well before giving. Or, you can let the charcoal settle out, pour off the gray water and give that. 

Dr. Agatha Thrash M.D. tells the following case of neonatal jaundice in a four-day old breast-fed baby:

“The father took the baby to our laboratory to be tested for its total bilirubin levels. The levels continued to climb over the next twenty-four hours and a consulting physician agreed with our suspicion of an ABO blood incompatibility. When the bilirubin rose to 18 mg% the consultant prepared to give an exchange transfusion of blood.

The same hour the mother began administering as much charcoal as she could get the baby to accept. With the baby undressed in her lap, she sat in the sunlight giving over an hour of exposure to both front and back (babies can tolerate more sunlight before getting a sunburn than can adults).

At the next six-hour bilirubin check, the level was down to 16.5%, and we knew we had avoided the hazardous exchange transfusion. Continuing with this treatment the bilirubin began to clear and was down to 4 mg% by the tenth day.”

In one astounding study the need for exchange transfusions in babies with erythroblastosis fetalis was cut by more than 90% with the use of charcoal. Erythroblastosis fetalis is a severe anemia that develops in an unborn infant because the mother produces antibodies that attack the fetus’ red blood cells. The antibodies are usually caused by Rh incompatibility between the mother’s blood type and that of the fetus (that is, the mother and baby have different blood types).

These babies can be at extreme risk after birth and, depending on the severity, a blood transfusion may be performed. In one study done at Fort Benning, Georgia, activated charcoal, suspended in water, was given every two hours. The treatment was continued for 120 hours in normal newborns and 168 hours in premature infants, or until bilirubin levels fell. Charcoal should be begun at four hours of age to produce the maximum reduction in elevated bilirubin levels.”CharcoalRemedies.com page 158 “