Making the most of pregnancy care

How to use your B.R.A.I.N.S when talking with care providers.

 

We teach this acronym to all our HypnoBirthing families. It is really helpful for making any medical decision in your life and I always keep it in the back of my mind when talking to people in the medical profession.

 

B – Benefits. Ask your care provider for the benefits of what they are recommending.

 

R – Risks. Also ask what risks are involved. You need to fully understand what is being offered.

 

A – Alternatives. You can also ask if there are any alternatives to this treatment. If there are then go back the benefits and risks so you can make informed choices.

 

I – Intuition. What is your Intuition telling you. Seriously you know what is right for you. Trust yourself!

 

N – Nothing. Just one last thing… what if I do nothing. Even if there is no alternative you ALWAYS have the option of doing nothing. You still have a choice. To make that choice though you have to be informed. There may be consequences to doing nothing that you should be aware of.

 

S – Space. Ask for time and space to make your decision. Unless you need a Cat 1 Caesarean under general there is always time for you to assess your options and make an informed decision.

 

Use these rules for all parts of your care and any medical decision you need to make. You will feel more empowered and happier with your decisions.

The idea of doing this might be really stressful to you. I know when I first starting questioning care providers and asking for alternatives I was extremely nervous. The thing is I was advocating for my health and my babies health. Now I use the above for all circumstances and when I had appendicitis at 13 weeks during my last pregnancy I was so grateful I knew this technique. I was able to make intelligent questions, fully understand my options and choose what was best for me and baby (an appendectomy). The Doctor’s had no problems answering my questions and even sent an OB down from maternity to talk me through the side effects of surgical medication on the baby. Find your voice and use it. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll regret not speaking up but will always be grateful you asked questions until you felt at ease with your decisions. Even if you choose the same outcome you would have without extra knowledge.

Are you ready to use your B.R.A.I.N.S?

 

Pregnancy heartburn cures

If you’ve ever propped yourself up in bed at night willing yourself to ignore the burning in your chest while watching your partner snore blissfully beside you this is the blog for you. While fantasizing about ways to wake your partner with the most shock value is helpful some of the below suggestions might actually help you sleep to. Hot tip though, pick the villain from the film your partner is most scared of, dress up as that character and wake them. In my house that would be the woman from The Grudge… your welcome.

My first pregnancy I suffered severe heart burn from 13 weeks and took prescription medication vomit from 15 weeks because it was affecting my ability to eat. I had done my research at the time it was Class B untested with no recorded side effects to baby. I had a reflux baby. Fortunately he would just vomit and be fine, so it was messy but not too hard to deal with. However friends on the same medication comment also on having reflux babies sometimes to the point of being hospitalised. My friends also suspect the medication was a factor. This is pure anecdote and in no way scientific at all but I was determined second time round to hold off prescription medication until at least the third trimester and minimise use over the counter remedies.

 

This time round I managed to avoid prescription medication completely and irregularly used Gaviscon from around twenty weeks and a few times a week from twenty nine weeks. Every pregnancy is different so I will admit I may have just fluked it but I do believe my dietary choices helped a lot.

 

I happened to go on the ‘I Quit Sugar’ a few weeks before I got pregnant. Once morning sickness kicked in I found the program really easy and pregnancy made me have issues digesting carbs so right from the get go a few things changed.

 

Giving up soft drink would be my first port of call. If you have difficulty transitioning from this try soda water with lime. I drank coke every day of last pregnancy – not a healthy choice but I felt really tired and thought I needed it. I definitely had issues with heartburn after drinking soft drink but I kept doing it. Water is definitely a better choice. If you need a little something else try juice. Apple was the only juice that didn’t irritate my heartburn. Orange and Pineapple, any really acidic juices should definitely be avoided at all costs.   

 

Sorry but you will need to say goodbye to chocolate. As part of quitting sugar chocolate was already gone from my diet but over Christmas a few pieces made their way to me. I couldn’t believe how immediately I was affected with heartburn. I found having a smoothie with banana, spinach, cacao powder and milk of choice to take away the chocolate craves really helpful. Subbing out cow’s milk with Almond milk will help if dairy is causing your heartburn to flare up. Coffee may be a no go as well. I don’t drink coffee so I can’t say either way!

 

Have small meals and often will help. As soon as your stomach gets over full it puts pressure on the oesophagus and forces stomach acid up. So changing from 3 large meals and 2 small snacks to 6 – 7 smaller meals really helped. It takes planning though. I had to make sure every time I left the house I had something on hand to eat as soon as I got hungry to stop me overeating. I kept a lot of carrots / celery with dips (sometimes really nutritious like hummus and sometimes cheese and chive because… pregnancy). Fruit and nuts are a great option. Grainy crackers with avocado. These are some great options that I found easy to have on hand. I would more often than not eat salad for lunch, eggs on toast for breakfast and normal family dinners but a nice small portion. It was work but I was grateful everytime I was caught up at work and could just grab something and know I was feeding myself and the baby as nutritiously as possible. I am not saying I never chowed down on my guilty pleasure of salt and vinegar chips but I did it in moderation.

 

The other major change I made was toothpaste. It sounds so simple but really made a huge difference to me. I noticed after using my toothpaste that the reflux was really bad and one night not wanting to face it I picked up my son’s toothpaste. So changing down to a 2 – 5 toothpaste with a much milder mint flavour was a saviour to me. I made sure I was still flossing everyday as well because dental hygiene is very important in pregnancy. 

 

These were the things that I think made the biggest difference in my heartburn this time round and hope they help you. Everything I have suggested above are the kind of things I would talk to a friend about. At the end of the day I do not have a medical background and you know your body and your needs better than anyone. If you do feel you need medication please have a discussion with your care provider. I do not ever recommend suffering through various pregnancy ailments just because you are pregnant. Just remember to use your B.R.A.I.N.S so you can make an informed decision on the best course of action for you.

 

 

Speaking about the bump...

It’s not okay to comment on my body.

 

I am challenged in my torso length. What this means is I can’t buy dresses off the rack and if I am making a fitted dress I have to take 2 – 3 cm from the waist to get a proper fit. My legs are longer than average in proportion to my torso and that means I can break fashion rules like wearing an ankle strap with a knee length skirt. So you know, you win some you lose some. Ultimately it isn’t actually a big deal until I am pregnant.

Yes my belly is cartoonishly large. I can see that you don’t need to tell me.

Yes my belly is cartoonishly large. I can see that you don’t need to tell me.

 

My first pregnancy I wore flowing dresses that hid my bump or covered it up. So the comments about belly size were made only by my Dad. This time round I showed  this miracle off. I was growing a baby in there something I find amazing – I won’t let anyone forget it. The only problem with this from five months with increasing frequency I got comments like this ALL the time…

 

‘Are you sure you aren’t having twins’…

Er yeah I’m sure. I had appendicitis and needed a lot of extra scans. 8 in total and yeah there is definitely just one.

 

‘Is your due date right?’…

Yep. I miscarried in April and was tracking my period so I’m pretty damn sure of due date. Oh you feel that’s an awkward overshare well maybe you should think twice before you say something.

 

‘Wow you are really big’…

Actually my fundal height is tracking perfectly for how many weeks I am.

 

‘Gosh you’ve popped, again’…

No I’m not a champagne bottle I am growing a human.

 

Do you know why these comments are inappropriate? It assumes you as a stranger, work colleague or friend have a right to intimate knowledge of my body. FYI - You don’t.  And if you wouldn’t make a comment to a man then don’t make a comment to a woman at any stage of life. Her belly is her business and it comes with a lot of baggage. You don’t know someone’s fertility journey and as above you can see a question about due dates can bring up feelings about miscarriage, IVF, delayed conception for health reasons or any number of things. Did you want to upset someone while they are in a vulnerable position in life? Probably not I would imagine.

 

So the next time you see a baby bump rethink your comments. Try a generic ‘You look amazing’ or ‘What a beautiful bump’. If you’re a stranger - hold your tongue.