birth

Holy motherforking shirtballs, I’m nearing the end of pregnancy!

The end of pregnancy is quite literally all the feels.  It can be a roller-coaster! You seem to be in this new weird place.  One foot into pregnancy and wondering what this new life will look like with this baby.  But also one foot already in the future as a new parent. Our minds are preparing as best they can, our homes are ready (or almost). We may have already been through that nesting spell.  Car seats, bassinets, diapers, baby’s first outfit, and a birth bag are all getting checked off the list. It could be…..any…..moment. 

For months and months we watched our bellies expand.   It was gradual yet it also felt like all of a sudden. Just when we thought, “Ok, this is big I don’t think it can get any bigger,”  our bellies grew just a little more. The fluttering movements changed into jabs, and rolls, and stretches, and “oh my gosh get out of my ribs!”  We put up with nausea, aches, pains, bolts of lightning through the crotch, and learning how to navigate normal, daily routines in our rotund beautiful bodies.  After awhile socks are just too much effort.  Am I right?

Our physical bodies aren’t just the only thing riding the roller-coaster of growing a human at the end of pregnancy.

Our minds are taken through the washer like it’s on a heavily soiled extra rinse cycle. They would dry out but sometimes it is like when the load gets put in the dryer but no one hits the start button.  We are excited, then miserable, maybe worried, maybe anxious. Some days we feel like crying. The best thing to do when that strikes us is to just let it out. A good sob is healing for the soul. We may even be so happy to still be pregnant and not taking care of the newborn we long to hold. That is OK too!

Other moments our minds may be in that happy, excited state. The thought of cradling our newborn in our arms may be elating. Whether happy or not many times we think, “I just need to make it to the end of this pregnancy.”

Then the end comes.  

What will this birth be like?  How will life be with a newborn?  Am I ready for this next chapter?

The end of pregnancy a mindfork.

We want to make sure we are doing all the things that can help us prepare for a smooth labor and birth.  But we also want to not overdo it and not stress ourselves out. And then there’s the new things your body starts doing too!  Every new sensation sends us to thinking, “Is this it?!” There’s discharge, and contractions, and mucus plug, and loose bowels.  All of it means labor is coming, and all of it means it could still be days or weeks away. The inability to be in control of when this baby will come can be so frustrating.  The baby is the only one who has any control and our communication with them in the womb is well…hard.  

If you are feeling a little out of your gourd or emotional as you await baby’s arrival know you are not alone.  Most of us as we near the “any minute” stage of pregnancy are right there with you. One minute elated we reached the end! Hooray! Then the next minute we are scared for what’s ahead. “What will this parenting gig really be like?” Then one minute back to “Yay I can’t wait to meet my child!” and then maybe back to “When will this baby come?!”

So it is always a good idea to talk about your feelings and thoughts to a trusted partner or friend.  Call your doula! Take some slow relaxing deep breaths (which is also great practice for birth!). Try to enjoy the last moments of feeling your little being move inside you or whatever may be your favorite part of being pregnant. 

Please know you will be a wonderful parent. You already are!

Having a baby is a huge life transition. Nearing the end of pregnancy can make it all the more real, which is why these feelings can come upon us. Rest assured you are not the first to go through the emotions you are as you sit in these final weeks, days, or moments of pregnancy.  Every parent who has been in your shoes feels you and hears you.

Authored by Andrea Stainbrook

True stories from the NICU

September is a time to think about and bring awareness to NICU parents, babies in the NICU, and the medical teams that work so hard to care for these babies. The National Perinatal Association even breaks down this week of September to recognize and honor all of those involved in NICU care. You can check out their website to learn more. (For this week September 26 is NICU Remembrance Day, September 27 is NICU Giving Day, September 28 is NICU Staff Recognition Day, September 29 is Sibling Support Day, and September 30 Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Day.)

Some of us may know someone with an experience in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Our hearts are there for our friends, neighbors, or families, but we don’t always know what they are going through exactly or how to support them. In honor of September’s NICU Awareness, I reached out and asked a few parents some questions about their experiences in the NICU. Their answers are real and raw, and sometimes gut-wrenching. You can feel the emotions in their words. Their answers are their truths and hopefully we all better understand what these experiences are like and maybe even how to better support those we love if or when they are experiencing a NICU stay.

What surprised you as the most challenging part of having a child in the NICU?

“Recovering from birth and not having a comfortable place to be near my baby.”

“Being separated from your newborn. I felt it whether I was physically not in the room with her or even physically in the room with her. I just felt separated from her and as my first, it was the hardest thing feeling like I couldn’t just be with her after her birth which was all I wanted.”

“My baby being in the NICU was a shock to me. Both my husband and I are very healthy. I had a normal healthy pregnancy and my baby was full term. I just never thought that I would have a baby with complications. “

One of the most challenging things, to this day, is that I don’t feel like my baby and I ever got that snuggling, in our own world, feeling. I only got to hold him a few seconds after birth.  I definitely had to grieve the loss of the birth/postpartum I thought I’d have.

What positives did you feel about the NICU and its staff?

“Their willingness to help me with breastfeeding/pumping. They went as far as to get all the supplies and try to make a private spot for me to pump near my baby to help stimulate milk production despite sharing a room with 5 other babies.”

“The nurses were amazing! They taught my husband and I so much about caring for a newborn (taking her temperature, giving her a bath, swaddling, etc.). Although our mom/baby nurses were great, the NICU nurses were so supportive and went about teaching us so many things about newborn care that I felt so much more prepared.”

“That they saved my child’s life. He’s a thriving toddler now and without a doubt it’s thanks to the doctors and nurses who took care of him.  Also, the NICU staff was very supportive of our breastfeeding relationship. They also taught us how to care for a newborn. Sometimes my husband and I refer to our time there as “baby boot camp”. They taught us how to change diapers, breastfeed, bottle feed, and bathe the baby. Babies in the NICU are also on a very strict schedule and we just kept that schedule even when we got home. It helped us feel like we knew what we were doing.”

What did you feel was negative during your baby’s NICU experience?

“In retrospect the doctors and nurses were trying to help my baby. But due to all those post birth hormones and the fact that I was also very sick, I literally thought the doctors took my baby from me. It was very traumatic.”

” I wished there had been more private spaces at our hospital where I could have been more comfortable while holding our baby and recovering. Also, although I loved the nursing staff for the care they were providing and newborn care aspects, I felt it was lacking in support of breastfeeding.”

Driving away from the hospital without your baby was almost a physical pain for me, like I was leaving half of me there, and just a shell was heading home.

If you knew someone whose baby was getting admitted to the NICU what would be your best advice?  Tips?

“To check in with them!!! To offer to bring them a meal if they are still at the hospital. And if they are home and their baby is in the hospital give them support. Even if they don’t come right out and ask, just a text is great. Even just popping over for some company to help keep their mind off things.”

“Tips- take lots of pictures because you don’t always know what the outcome could be.”

“Speak up for your needs and for your baby’s! Do not hesitate to advocate for your needs. I wish I would have asked for more comfortable areas to sit, I’m sure they would have been able to figure something out but I didn’t want to be a burden. I felt like I would have been able to be there more had I done that.”

I think it’s really cute how they call the babies “NICU graduates” when they leave the NICU. 

What do you think the general public doesn’t understand about parents with babies in the NICU?

“That PTSD can occur after their stay.  The beeping of the monitors, the urgency of the doctors, the critical decisions that can be life altering for your child/family.  Even if parents end up leaving with a baby in their arms, their stay in the NICU changes them.”

“It’s not all premature babies who are in there – Evelyn was full-term and a large baby! I never even thought we’d have a baby in the NICU because she was full-term. But with jaundice that wasn’t going away as fast as it should have, it was definitely the place she needed to be.”

“That even if the baby is the NICU for something seemingly minor, to a new mom and her partner it’s life altering and the scariest! Unless you have been there it’s hard to understand, I think. But check in and don’t just assume everything is fine.”

What would have or did help you feel supported during your baby’s stay?

“Since we didn’t plan for the NICU we didn’t really pack or have anything for a long hospital stay. I ran out of clean clothes and toiletries. My mom had to bring us more clothes. Bringing us food, clothes, and coffee meant the world. Also just visiting so I could have someone to sit with meant the world.”

“The nurses helping me to order meals since I was a breastfeeding mother. Even though my baby was in no position to eat (sedated/ventilation) they helped get me breastfeeding supplies, helped me store my milk with my child’s name on it in the fridge and made sure I was getting enough to eat and drink.”

” A more private space to recover. The hospital did let us stay in our room one night longer (allowing us to have to leave her for just one night), but the hospital was full. I was so thankful that we could stay that first extra night, but it would have been so much better to have some space to be comfortable after I had been released. Also – (sorry for the TMI) – it was the worst to change pads in a hospital public bathroom. It was a little thing but on top of everything else it was just so hard!”

The care and love the nurses had for those babies. You could feel the support and care that the nurses had.

A big thank you to the parents who shared their stories here. Overwhelmingly we can feel how the medical staff is caring and how grateful these parents are to the team that supported their babies. You can also hear in their words how difficult it is as a parent to navigate it all.

Reach out to these people. So bring a new parent a coffee and offer a hug! High five a nurse and thank her for her work! Write that neonatal physician a note reminding them of how many families are grateful for all they do!

by Andrea Stainbrook

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Chelsea Myers

When looking for doula support some qualities you may want to look for are compassionate, warm, reliable, and easy to talk to. Chelsea is all of these things and more! Take a moment to learn why we love Chelsea and you will too!

What is your path to becoming a doula?

After having my son in April 2018 and a positive birthing experience, I began talking to other moms and friends about birth. I soon realized that a lot of women did not have a positive birthing experience like I had and that immediately lit a passion inside of me for wanting to do something in the birthing field.  I thought about becoming a nurse, midwife, an OB…but that just wasn’t what I wanted to do. My sister introduced me to the word doula and my life changed.

What do you love about being a doula?

I love knowing that our work truly makes a difference in a family’s life during one of the most amazing times in their life.  There is only one shot at a birth and I know doulas help to enhance that experience.

Tell us about your family!

My husband Jeremy and I have been married for almost 3 years.  He is in the IT field and works as a Linux Engineer. We decided we wanted to grow our family shortly after being married and our son Lucas was born on 4/4/18.  4 was always my lucky number growing up and will always be my lucky number now. We also have a 9 year old pug named Diesel who we love to death. My family is everything to me and when I am not working I am soaking up every minute with them.

Chelsea, Jeremy, & Lucas <3

If we turned on the radio in your car what would we hear?

It depends on if my son was driving with me last or not.  If he was, it would probably be country or top 40 (for now…he’s only 1, can’t tell me to change the station yet, and actually enjoys car rides).  If he wasn’t, it’s usually 90s/2000s hip hop/rap or a doula podcast.

Who is your role model?

My mom and dad. 

They worked so hard for my brother, sister, and I and made so many personal sacrifices so we could dance, play hockey, and have the usual, expensive childhood stuff.  Knowing what I know now about life and bills and money, I truly don’t know how they did it without going crazy but they did. I am so incredibly thankful for them every single day.

What is your fave thing to do on a day off?

Attempt to sleep in, stay in jammies until lunch, then do something fun in the afternoon like head to the park or Partridge Creek mall.

What are you reading right now?

My book club book- An Anonymous Girl by Green Hendricks.

What is your best piece of advice for expecting families?

Listen to your gut, know that you and what you’re going through are 100% normal, and to lean on your village (which includes your doula).  

As you can see Chelsea is one great woman! Call us today to request Chelsea as your birth doula! 586-960-5993

Is it normal? | Wow! My boobs are huge!

And just like that you have a couple of large hard melons for breasts.

For some after giving birth their body changes from producing colostrum (the thick usually deeper in color, yellow or orange-ish first food your breasts produce) to breastmilk unbeknownst to you and your boobs. The first sign is “look honey there’s actual milk dripping from my nipples!” For others as their supply builds somewhere on or between day 2 and day 7 after birth you look down and cannot believe your eyes! Just when you thought they couldn’t get any bigger……

“WOW! My boobs are huge!”

They may get ginormous. They may feel hard. They may be really uncomfortable. This is known as breast engorgement. It is common and it is normal!

It can sometimes feel alarming to feel such heavy breasts. You feel like you are carrying around a couple of bowling balls!

Signs of breast engorgement:

Boobs that feel: Hard, warm, or overall uncomfortable.

The skin may feel tight and even be shiny.

-Some have felt like their breasts looked like very inflated balloons, melons, or balls.

So you determined yes, these breasts are engorged. Know its OK and there are things you can do to help it. For most this will pass in 24 hours. Sometimes it can last up to 10 days especially if not doing anything to prevent or help it.

What you can do to help:

Frequent feeding if you are nursing. One goal given by Le Leche League International is to breastfeed at least 10 times a day.

Ensure that when your baby is breastfeeding it has a proper latch. If your baby is not latched correctly it may not remove much milk from your breasts. This in turn tells your body to decrease the amount of milk it is making, which isn’t great for your supply.

Massage your breasts before a feed. Massage starting from up high near your collarbone and move downward to your nipples. Do this in a circular motion.

-Warm compresses. Applying heat 5-10 minutes before nursing can help ease some of the milk out and make for a less forceful letdown so your baby can latch on easier. It also often feels good. These are good to use if you are bottle feeding as well as it helps release some milk and reduce some of the fullness. Be mindful of these though as too much heat can cause more inflammation.

Using washcloths you can make a warm or cold compress. For a warm compress simply run it under hot water and wring it out before use. For a cold compress you can make an ice bath in a bowl and dip the towels in, then wring them out.

-Cold compresses. Doing cycles of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off can bring relief. It is not recommended to leave cold compresses on for an extended period of time. It is also a good idea to have a layer of cloth between the cold pack and your skin. One well loved product is Booby Tubes. They heat up or cool down!

Cold cabbage leaf compresses. These are recommended to be used with initial swelling but then to switch to other cold compresses once the swelling has reduced if you are continuing to nurse. It is believed that cabbage can reduce milk supply when overused. Simply place the cabbage in the fridge to chill it. Green cabbage typically doesn’t stain versus the red cabbage. Cut out the stem from the center of the leaves. This will help the leaves to fit nicely on your breasts. Place them on your breasts or secure them in place with a bra. Once they are wilted remove them. If not nursing you can use these more continuously to help dry up a supply. I know this one sounds weird but many swear by it to reduce swelling.

-Speak with your health care professional. If you are trying to dry up your supply and need relief from the engorgement there may be supplements or specific recommendations from your doctor or lactation consultant. Also if the pain is intolerable or you are concerned it is always a good idea to reach out to your care provider.

If you do have engorgement don’t panic! Follow some of the tips above to help you. Boobs are rather magical and do all sort of shifting and changing before and after birth!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

What are birth affirmations?

In the process of birth the birthing person typically will need some encouragement and emotional support. Birth affirmations are simply that! They can even be your birth slogan or mantra! The best part of birth affirmations is you can select those that resonate with you and create ones that truly speak to you.

Why use them? Labor can be long. Labor can be hard. And at some point in labor self-doubt can creep in. Having some reminders that lift you up can help you through intense parts of birth. The goal is to make you feel good about the process and keep things positive. These little sentences can act as your own personal cheerleader!

One example of an affirmation for labor.

Tips for finding and creating affirmations:

Check out our Pinterest page of affirmation ideas

-Use lyrics from your favorite songs

-Scan your birth books for parts that truly speak to you

-Buy affirmations already printed out in card form, like these

-Seek inspiration from your favorite movies or books. It doesn’t have to be directly related to birth to be useful and encouraging!

-Take inspirational quotes from uplifting calendars

-Seek out your favorite poet, philosopher, or public speaker for words of wisdom and inspiration

-Ask your provider what their favorite things to tell patients are

Birth affirmations are for every birth desire.

Whether you want a natural birth or an epidural or a planned cesarean birth, encouragement and positivity are always useful.

So you got your inspiring words…now what?

-Your partner, doula, or support person can read these aloud during the birth.

-You can create a booklet of them to flip through.

-Type or write them on cards and hang them around your birthing room.

-Create wish flags or a bunting out of fabric or paper. Then write the affirmations on the flags. String these up in your birth room.

Birth affirmations are simply another tool to help you cope throughout the labor process. You may find them useful and use them the throughout your whole labor. It never hurts to arm yourself with as many tools as you can. Birth affirmations can be an easy and great tool to use and have with you as you bring your baby into this world.

Written by: Andrea Stainbrook

For a Moment Like This

“For a moment like this…. some people wait a lifetime.”  Ain’t that the truth Kelly Clarkson?

When I envisioned my births I envisioned myself like a lot of the videos and pictures I saw and loved.  I pictured dim light and quiet whispers.  I envisioned myself humming and swaying through contractions as they intensified.  I was planning a waterbirth and just thought I would rest there as long as possible. Then at that climatic moment, where I would be so relaxed and quiet, I would pull my baby  up and he or she would crest the water and greet me with a gentle cry and cuddles on my chest.   I could see it perfectly.  It would be beautiful.  

To be clear those births exist.  They are beautiful.  They are a great ideal to envision and strive for.   But know… it is still BEAUTIFUL if it’s not what you envisioned.   My births were not far off from this in many ways.  But in many ways my ideal I envisioned and what it looked like were way different.

You are a version of yourself on the day you give birth.  Who knows what mood and tone you may really take on.  I was not as quiet and peaceful as I imagined.  And although I got my hair done the night before and I painted my nails a few days prior… real life may not be perfectly coiffed hair and runway ready faces.

For my second amazing birth I hired a professional birth photographer.  Worth every penny and it is so great to have these photos forever.   One photo I was so excited to see was what that moment when I see my baby for the first time looked like.  Seeing other pictures of this moment captured I couldn’t wait to see that look of love and that special glow.

My first photo is beautiful.

It shows everything I felt at that moment.  Estelle came in a hurry and the last 15 minutes were intense.  After having a long labor with my first I couldn’t believe this went so fast.  I was processing a lot.  Anyhow I have full on ugly cry, “what in the world,” look.   I’m obviously happy and overjoyed.  You CAN see that too.  I’ll admit it wasn’t at first what I hoped.  I didn’t want to frame it.   Although I did want to cherish it.

WEBfirstlook5757

Birth is so many feelings and emotions wrapped into one.  If you look close enough at this one you may see all of them.  <3

No matter what we strive for, what unfolds, birth and the many faces we wear during it is simply beautiful.

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

When do I head to the hospital?

The day has arrived! You think you are in labor!

First how do you tell if it is really labor?

So you notice you are having contractions and they seem to come and go. You can try timing them. To time a contraction you time the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next contraction. This is how far apart they are. Note the duration of the sensation as well. What you should start to see is a pattern. There are many apps for timing this or you can use an old fashioned watch or clock.

Check out the apps available to you on your phone before labor begins. There are many to choose from!

Longer, stronger, closer together is the key to a labor pattern.

Your contractions should fall into a rhythm of sorts. Maybe they begin at 8 minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds. Then you feel a shift of intensity and you time them again. Now you notice they are 6 mins apart lasting 40 seconds. This appears to be a labor pattern. The sensations are getting longer, feeling stronger, and are closer together than they were before.

When is it time to head to the hospital?

The 5-1-1 or 4-1-1.

When your contractions are 5 minutes or 4 minutes apart, lasting one minute long, for the course of an hour, it is time to head to the hospital. Ideally you will get to the hospital in an active labor pattern.

Notify your provider that your are heading in or you can always ask them if they feel its a good time to come to the hospital as well. Of course talk to your doula as soon as you think anything is going on. She can offer suggestions, listen, and remind you of ways to cope!

Not sure if it is in fact labor? Looking for guidance on how to distract and cope through early labor? Call your doctor/midwife and your doula!

There are some variables that can change when to head in. If you are high risk, GBS positive, or your water is broken, are some instances that can change the timing. It is a good idea to discuss with your doctor or midwife what it looks like when you think you are in labor. Let them tell you what they prefer in your specific instance.

So remember, longer, stronger, closer together and the 4-1-1 will help you decide when it is time to go! Safe travels ahead!

Are you watching “9 Months That Made You”?

I will admit I watch a lot of TV. I watch it to unwind and relax, but I also use it to learn and discover new things. Recently I stumbled upon a PBS series called “9 Months That Made You.” I am one episode in and hooked!

Now I know by being a doula and childbirth educator that this show is right up my alley. I mean it is kind of like continuing education for my work! But if you are growing a human in your body currently, or did grow one, or know someone who grew one, or if you grew in someone’s body, then this show is a perfect fit!

So in the first episode they break down what it is like for a baby to grow beginning with the moment of conception. It then goes on to describe what happens in hours! And then days and weeks. The detailed things they discuss is amazing. How much of our lives that is determined by the processes in the first few weeks is astonishing!

Within the program different families from around the globe are highlighted to show their genetic differences. These differences are due to developmental things that can happen during the time period of growth that they are focused in on in the episode. The first episode even features a scientist studying living a long life and how it may be determined while you are still in the womb!

So yes I am a geek when it comes to science and babies. I can’t wait to finish the series. It really celebrates the variances in humanity. So if you are looking to add something to your queue and you are into learning check out this PBS series on Netflix. You can find out more about it here:
https://www.pbs.org/show/9-months-made-you/

I can’t wait to see what new information I learn next!

by Andrea Stainbrook

How to write a birth plan

Birth plans, birth wishes, birth preferences, or whatever you prefer to call it can be a useful tool. The work of going through what is important to you and your partner in your birth is likely the best part of creating a birth plan, no matter if you actually print it out.

Birth wishlists can be a great way to give the care team you are working with an idea of the ideal birth you hoped for. This way if paths stray from what you envisioned the staff can help keep it as close to your ideal as possible.

What you can include in your plan:

  • Basic information: your name, partner’s name or support person’s name, doula’s name, important phone numbers, your care provider’s name
  • Important items to know about the birthing person: allergies, or medical conditions the staff should be reminded of
  • Ideals for coping and what is important to you in early and active labor: After going through options in birth include those that really stand out to you as what you hope for in this birth.
  • Pushing preferences
  • Placenta plans: If choosing placenta encapsulation services it is a good idea to have this on your birth preferences sheet as a reminder. Also mentioning if you intend to use a cord blood banking service.
  • Cesarean birth preferences: items like clear drapes used, support people you want present, skin to skin if possible after birth.
  • Newborn care: erythromycin eye ointment, vitamin K, hepatitis B, circumcision/intact
  • Feeding preferences: it is nice to note if you are planning on breastfeeding, or formula feeding, or some combination

A smart idea is to write a long detailed plan for yourself that goes through all the options and ideals you have. Then that plan is for you. Trim and omit the unnecessary items to create a simpler plan to hand in to your birth staff. Creature comforts like dim lighting, do not need to be on your staff’s plan.

Pro-tips for birth plans

  • Keep it simple! Bullet points and simple statements to convey your wants is ideal. Also birth plans should not be so detailed you are telling your provider and staff how to do their job. Some plans simply state one item, for example “We would prefer open communication throughout the entire process.”
  • Be positive! Use phrases like “we prefer x,y,z” instead of “NO X,Y,Z!”
  • Thank the staff! Your care providers and nurses want you to have a lovely experience. They work hard and long shifts. Tell them how excited you are to be at that facility with the wonderful staff you have selected.
  • Make it fun! Say what?! If you can find a way to make it funny, or light, or cute in some way, the staff will enjoy reading it. Some clients in the past have made it sports themed, or added a funny comic. One couple made it look like a movie poster!

When making your birth wishes list explore all the things you envision or hope for. It is a great activity to get you thinking about the experience you’d like. A place you can learn about your birthing options is through a childbirth education course. Check out Metro Detroit Doula Service’s offerings today!

by Andrea Stainbrook

Gas, Constipation, & Hemorrhoids. All things poop in pregnancy.

Often people don’t share about their poop issues they experience in pregnancy. They can be all too real. Let’s dive in and learn about these common issues.

GAS

Blame the dog if you want but odds are you will be gassier in pregnancy. This can start early on and at any time. We can thank all this extra farting to the increased levels of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone actually causes the muscles of the digestive tract to relax. Because of this more gas can escape. On top of that, as your baby grows, the pressure in your abdomen also increases which adds to more gas being pushed out.

HOW CAN I HELP REDUCE THE GAS?

-Add more exercise to your daily activity. By doing this you can stimulate digestion and keep the gas moving.

-Eat smaller meals throughout the day.

-Avoid trigger foods. Some foods that can be triggering are: fatty & fried foods, beans, sprouts, broccoli and whole grains.

CONSTIPATION

Constipation can happen very early into pregnancy, and it is known to occur at any point and in any trimester. That pesky hormone progesterone relaxing our digestive tract muscles means that things move more slowly. For some their prenatal vitamins or iron supplements could be the culprit as well.

Pro-tip: Address constipation right away, don’t wait! This can help you avoid hemorrhoids from developing.

HOW CAN I HELP ALLEVIATE CONSTIPATION?

-By increasing your amount of daily exercise, you help keep your body functions moving.

-Increase your fiber consumption and drink lots of water.

Squatty potties help get you in a good pooping position.

-Talk to your care provider about your vitamins and if it is related.

HEMORRHOIDS

The dreaded hemorrhoids. These friends usually pop up in the last trimester. Hemorrhoids are simply swollen veins in your lower rectum. Good news is they usually resolve on their own some time after delivery. Between experiencing constipation and so much pressure on the rectum from your growing baby in your uterus, it can be common to experience hemorrhoids. Sometimes they can cause pain and/or itchiness. They can be internal or external around your anus.

HOW CAN I MAKE HEMORRHOIDS GO AWAY?

-Warm baths, or witch hazel soaks & witch hazel pads, can help.

-Being mindful not to stand or sit for too long of stretches.

-Medicated Tucks pads, Preparation H, or other over the counter remedies ease the pain and calms the itchiness.

-If they hang around after your baby is born and are causing a lot of discomfort it is good to talk to your doctor.

In a perfect world none of us would experience any of these, but odds are we will all likely cross paths with one or all of these in pregnancy. Doulas are never too shy to talk about these so never be afraid to give your doula a call!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Metro Detroit Doula Services