Whether you’re pregnant, contemplating, or a new parent, your life is changing in a very big way. While you’re adapting to that bundle of joy, we remind you, dear reader, to take care of yourself. Want to know how to de-stress, get your body ready, or how to save money? Kick your feet up, sit back, and read our tips and tricks.
Call the midwife…
By Athena Cocoves
Interested in home birth? While most physicians will encourage hospital birth— with good reason— the practice of home birth represents about 2% of births in the developed world. Here are a few basic things to know:
There are two types of midwives: Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs).
CNMs are licensed and trained as a Registered Nurse and are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. CNM standards go far beyond those set by the International Confederation of Midwives including previous medical training and further specialized training in midwifery.
CPMs, formerly referred to as “lay midwives,” a CPM does not have direct medical training in midwifery. Instead, they have studied through apprenticeship or a class separate from medicine. A CPM’s accreditation is from North American Registry of Midwives, a professional organization for non-nurse midwives. A CPM credential, recognized in 28 states, is not recognized in Ohio.
What’s a doula?
Referred to as “birthing coaches” or “childbirth assistants,” doulas are not midwives, yet they assist with birth. Doulas help before, after, and during labor, providing assistance and serving as a go-between for the doctor, nurses and family. There is no formal or universal certification for doulas. However, there are classes, courses, and certifications that doulas can apply for to signify their training.
For any parent, a newborn is a great deal of stress. Psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Kelly, gave a few pointers on how to overcome daily emotions
- Remember to breathe. Take slow, deep breaths, relaxing your body is very important.
- Make time for yourself. Doing something nice for yourself will help relieve stress.
- Don’t take on too much. Don’t overload your schedule.
- Find your phrase. Create a mantra to help you focus your thoughts.
- Get enough sleep. Insomnia is one of the biggest triggers for baby blues and depression.
- Eat. “A lot of women may feel pressured to lose weight after giving birth, but take care of yourself; eat healthy and appropriately.”
- Ask for help. “Don’t attempt to be a supermom… It takes a village to raise a child.”
Getting the body baby-ready
By Heidi Borst
While it is certainly a miracle, pregnancy takes a toll on the body. Get your body ready for the amazing change with chiropractic care, massages and exercise.
Dr. Bryan Royer says chiropractic care helps a woman’s body through the changes.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy
A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy to prepare for labor, including decreased joint stability, weight gain, and postural changes (a protruding abdomen and increased curve to the spine). According to Dr. Brian Royer of Harmony Chiropractic, “Chiropractic care can help with low back pain, neck pain and headaches. Often, women will come in at 5-6 months in a good deal of pain and are shocked that they feel so much better [throughout the third trimester] because they received chiropractic care.”
A more comfortable pregnancy and labor
When pregnant, a woman’s body produces the hormone relaxin, which causes the joints to be looser and may contribute to lower back pain. Regular chiropractic adjustment can decrease a woman’s pain during pregnancy, and even in the midst of labor.
Pregnancy is the perfect reason to invest in massage therapy. Prenatal massage decreases stress and alleviates common discomforts experienced by expectant mothers, such as back and neck pain, fluid retention, leg cramps, and even insomnia.
Anna Bremer, co-owner of Massage Bliss, describes the process: “Through use of side-lying and semi-reclining positions, the massage practitioner can address any problematic muscle groups in the mother’s back, legs, arms, abdomen, etc.”
Experience not necessary for prenatal classes, says Erin Betz, of Tonic Maumee.
Prenatal yoga: Mama say, “OM!”
Prenatal yoga, a workout for women during pregnancy, is a slower-paced session focusing on the connection between a woman and her developing baby. Practice often results in improved sleep, flexibility, and endurance; expecting mothers will learn tools to stay focused and calm during labor.
Yoga instructor Erin Betz of Tonic Maumee, assures no previous yoga experience is necessary, “The gentle flowing class [at Tonic Maumee] focuses on yoga postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to ease the physical, emotional, and mental demands of pregnancy.”
“Baby Blues” or something more?
By Emily Remaklus and Heidi Borst
Having a newborn is an exciting time for parents and family, but what if your feelings after delivery are unexpected? Although welcoming a baby is a joyous occasion, birth is also very stressful. Dr. Victoria Kelly explains the importance and seriousness of postpartum depression.
Motherhood’s responsibilities don’t need to cause stress, says Dr. Victoria Kelly, a psychiatrist with a special interest in women’s health issues.
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is often confused with postpartum blues or “the baby blues,” a feeling of sadness that can affect the mother within 7-10 days of delivery. Postpartum blues gradually lessen and by three months the symptoms should be gone, while postpartum depression is more severe with symptoms of loss of interest and appetite, inability to sleep, and in some serious cases could lead to thoughts of hurting oneself, others, or even the baby.
Dr. Kelly explained, “It’s very common for a brand new mom to have self doubt, but if they are unable to get past questioning themselves and are unable to make a decision due to anxiety, that can be an indicator of postpartum depression.” If a mother is having thoughts of hurting herself or others, she should go to the Emergency Room right away.
If a mother is suffering from postpartum indicators or the baby blues, she should reach out to family and let them know she is struggling. OB-GYN doctors are very willing to help. Dr. Kelly explains, “Don’t be afraid of treatment. It can absolutely improve your life and the bond you have with your child.”
Placenta capsules: A cure for the Baby Blues?
Up to 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues.” One way to fight the baby blues is placenta encapsulation, which is the process of drying out the placenta and turning it into digestible capsules. This preventive measure is offered by Branch of Life, LLC. Owner Danielle Garcia tried placenta capsules after the birth of her second child and was amazed by the results, prompting her to start her own company offering encapsulation. “They are referred to as happy pills, and that’s no joke! I had a lot more energy, less anxiety, and just felt really good in general.”
Danielle Garcia used placenta capsules with good results.
Although scientific research is lacking, consuming the placenta is an age-old practice. Garcia explains, “The main purpose is to help balance out the drastic fluctuations in hormones… combat fatigue, and the baby blues.”
Eating right… from the start
By Emily Remaklus
Erika Buri, mother of one, has been making homemade baby food for the last six months. “My husband and I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible, paying attention to how we eat and where it comes from.” So when it came to their daughter, they wanted to do the same.
Erika explained that since she works during the week, she spends about an hour and a half on Sundays preparing the baby food. To make the food, Erika uses a three cup food processor and cooked fruits and vegetables. One of her daughter’s favorite combinations is peaches, pears, and avocado puree.
When it comes to storing, Erika suggested 4-oz jelly jars and ice cube trays. Not only are they reusable and environmentally friendly, but they easily fit in a standard freezer which makes it convenient for busy moms and dads who need to prepare a meal quickly.
For those interested in organic food, there are some great cost benefits to making baby food. Erika explained that the difference between a week’s worth of organic and conventional produce is only about $1, whereas the difference between organic and conventional store bought baby food is close to $15.
“Farmers markets are also a great source of produce,” she offered. Many farmers grow their food organically and are very willing to explain their methods.
8 Quick Tips for New Dads
By Denise Morrison Yearian
After the birth, new moms and babies get most of the attention, but it’s a time of rapid change for dads, too. The following tips will help first-time fathers adjust to having a new baby in the house.
1. Be hands on. Get involved in all aspects of child care— bathing, feeding, reading, changing diapers and putting your baby to sleep. If the new dad needs a little coaching, give him the basics then allow him to develop his own style. Remember, experience is the best teacher. Don’t criticize; offer encouragement to help him feel competent in his new role.
2. Recognize challenges. Some babies, such as those with colic, may be harder to soothe. If your baby is crying, look for obvious signs of discomfort— diaper change, hunger, fatigue or gas. Spend five to ten minutes on any one strategy. If it doesn’t work, try another one. Newborns can also suffer from over stimulation due to lights, motion, sounds and people— things that may seem normal are a drastic change from a quiet womb.
3. Communicate with outsiders. Take on the role of communicating with family and friends, setting limits and boundaries, if needed. If others offer to help, suggest practical ideas such as dropping off meals, running errands or watching the baby so you and your partner can take a walk. Extended family can be a huge help or significant stressor. Encourage well-meaning but intruding relatives to refrain from giving unwanted input with regard to childcare.
4. Be supportive of Mom. One of the father’s biggest roles is to support the mother. Keep a constant line of communication open with one another and discuss how the adjustment is going. Talk about things that are and are not working, and make suggestions for change. Also, keep an eye out for signs of postpartum depression, which may have a delayed onset.
5. Find personal support. New dads may need an outlet where they can share their own concerns or stresses. Find a father support group or look for a friend who is or has gone through this stage in life. Also be aware of your emotions. If you feel anxious or depressed for an extended period of time, talk with your physician.
6. Nurture the couple relationship. This will benefit the parents and child. Schedule occasional date nights, or look for creative ways to give the relationship attention— back or foot rubs, an encouraging note left in a conspicuous place, a quick email sent to the office. Couples’ communication should include more than just baby talk. Also make time for intimacy; be sensitive to each other’s needs and work together to find a compromise.
7. Create space for self. While it may be impossible to maintain the before-baby lifestyle, determine what is most critical for each parent to relieve stress— sleep, exercise, time out of the house— and work that into the week.
8. Give it time. The more time fathers spend with their baby, the easier it will get. Right now things aren’t normal, but life will take on a new normalcy in time.
Denise Morrison Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines
and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.