Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Breast Feeding - giving baby more than you thought.

Human milk has been found to contain complex sugars known as oligosaccharides with far more variety than our fellow mammals. There are to date 200 human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) identified and they are the third most abundant ingredient after lactose and fats. However, it has been discovered that babies cannot digest HMOs, so what are they for?

It is known that HMOs pass through the stomach and small intestine without being digested and are destined for the large bowel where most of our useful bacteria are. Kuhn and Gyorgy et al determined that the HMOs in human milk are there to feed microbes in your baby's gut.

The microbe who benefits most from the HMOs is Bifidobacterium longum infantis (B. infantis), often the most prolific microbe found in the guts of breast fed babies.  In repayment for being fed such a plentiful diet the B. infantis releases short-chain fatty acids, a food for gut cells. This food allows the gut cells to make proteins that act as a glue, sealing any gaps between the cells that could allow harmful microbes into the blood stream causing infection. B. infantis when fed on cow milk does not perform this service and explains why breast fed babies are so much healthier.

Research shows that breast fed babies have higher IQs. HMOs could be responsible for this. B. infantis also releases, when fed on HMOs, a nutrient named Sialic Acid. The amazingly fast brain growth that humans experience is nurtured by Sialic Acid and so it is safe to say that human milk makes your baby clever. Cow milk does nothing for a baby's immune system or brain development.

 Scientist have put HMO fed B. infantis to the test and so far they are protecting your baby from:
  • Salmonella.
  • Listeria.
  • Vibrio cholerae (cholera).
  • Campylobacter jejuni (bacterial diarrhoea).
  • Entamoeba histolytica (dysentery).
  • E. coli.
  • HIV.
Research is now being done on premature babies who can develop a fatal gut condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). As the name suggests, the baby's gut is being eaten away by bacteria which commonly turns the gut tissue black. Premature babies are now being fed breast milk and B. infantis to try and prevent NEC. B. infantis is no use without the HMOs proliferate in breast milk. They will not protect the baby if fed cow milk alone. Premature babies are not good at sucking but maternal milk can be pumped and kept out of the fridge for 5 hours to ensure that the ingredients are still alive when given to baby, often via a feeding tube. This new research could revolutionise how we feed early babies and put a stop to the all too common condition of NEC.

 Pain Free Labour Books available from Amazon.



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Active Birth Pools

The benefits of using water for labour and birth are well known…

Meadow Birth Centre Venus Birth Pool

Here are the facts…
  1. Relaxing in a deep pool of warm water can be a wonderful aid in labour. It’s worth having a pool mainly for this reason.
  2. Using a birth pool helps mothers to considerably reduces the need for medical pain relief.
  3. The buoyancy of the water supports the mothers body weight allowing her to relax more easily and deeply. They can cope better with contractions and also rest more comfortably in between them.
  4. It’s easier to use upright or squatting positions and move freely from one position to another, than it is on land.
  5. Being in a birth pool gives mothers an increased feeling of privacy and security. This enhances the secretion of hormones which stimulate uterine contractions and act as natural pain killers and relaxants.
  6. Studies show that labours tend to be shorter overall when a woman enters the pool at around 5cms. dilation.
  7. Fewer women need the help of obstetric interventions.
  8. I cannot get rid of this number 8 no matter how I try.
  9. Now there is a number 9 as well!!!
  10. Thank you Keith for your lovely information on pool births.
  11. Active Birth Pools keith@activebirthpools.com


    Pain Free Labour books available from Amazon. Yay, the numbers have gone!!! xx


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Avoiding Induction of Labour - 2

In the last avoiding IOL post I reported on the use of date fruits, in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, to get you into labour before your due date. Well.

Just for you I have been eating date fruits to see what they did to a non pregnant woman with some interesting results.

Our guts are made up of smooth muscle as reported previously in this blog. The uterus is also made up of the very same smooth muscle. There is only one type of smooth muscle and it all works in the same way.

So. I started eating date fruits at the rate of one a day and there was no difference that I could detect. So I moved up to two a day and have noticed a big difference in the way the smooth muscle in my gut is working extra well.

This is really good news as my guts are not known for their regularity if you know what I mean.

Therefore, I can say with confidence that eating date fruits do have an influence on smooth muscle. The research that I reported on recommended that pregnant women eat SIX date fruits a day for the last 4 weeks of their pregnancy, they had some very impressive results.

Dare I try eating THREE date fruits a day?

For you I will do anything.

Please please please let me know if the date fruits work for you and how many you had to eat.

P.S. I cut mine up into a salad or my daily porridge. Yummy. xx

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Research shows Pool Births are the Best.

Study confirms… Women who labour in water have lower rate of epidural analgesia


23 June 2016: K.D. Brainin
Randomised controlled trial of labouring in water compared with standard of augmentation for management of dystocia (cervix not opening) in first stage of labour
To evaluate the impact of labouring in water during first stage of labour on rates of epidural analgesia and operative delivery in nulliparous women with dystocia.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting University teaching hospital in southern England.
Participants 99 nulliparous women with dystocia in active labour at low risk of complications.
Interventions Immersion in water or standard augmentation for dystocia (amniotomy and intravenous oxytocin).
Main outcome measures:
Primary: epidural analgesia and operative delivery rates.
Secondary: augmentation rates with amniotomy and oxytocin, length of labour, maternal and neonatal morbidity including infections, maternal pain score, and maternal satisfaction with care.
Women randomised to immersion in water had a lower rate of epidural analgesia than women allocated to augmentation (47% v 66%, relative risk 0.71 (95% confidence interval 0.49 to 1.01), number needed to treat for benefit (NNT) 5).
They showed no difference in rates of operative delivery (49% v 50%, 0.98 (0.65 to 1.47), NNT 98), but significantly fewer received augmentation (71% v 96%, 0.74 (0.59 to 0.88), NNT 4) or any form of obstetric intervention (amniotomy, oxytocin, epidural, or operative delivery) (80% v 98%, 0.81 (0.67 to 0.92), NNT 5).
Labouring in water under midwifery care may be an option for slow progress in labour, reducing the need for obstetric intervention, and offering an alternative pain management strategy.
(Extract from abstract of Randomised controlled trial of labouring in water compared with standard of augmentation for management of dystocia in first stage of labour by Elizabeth R Cluett, Ruth M Pickering, Kathryn Getliffe, Nigel James, St George Saunders published in British Journal of Midwfery January 26, 2004)

Women who receive less medical intervention generally stay in hospital for a shorter period of time.
The combination of an intervention free birth – with a short hospital stay result in a better experience for mother and baby.
Hospital staff and resources can be employed more efficiently.
Importantly – this results in significant financial savings!
A birth pool is a simple, inexpensive piece of equipment that can make a major impact on the quality of care and cost of having a baby.
The experience of hospitals who have birth pools shows that the cost of installing a pool is soon recouped by savings achieved through the reduced use medical methods of pain relief and intervention and shorter hospital stays.

Pain Free Labour Books now available from Amazon

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Avoiding Induction Of Labour

One of the main reasons that women are unable to give birth on their local birth center is that they go past their due date and face Induction Of Labour (IOL). This is usually offered when you are 10, 11 or 12 days past your date. Women undergoing IOL are not usually allowed on birth centers due to the extra risk to baby from a speeded up labour where baby may become distressed. This risk can result from the hormone pessaries used to initially soften and open your cervix or from the hormone drip that makes the contractions stronger and more frequent.

Researchers have found a very surprising way to try and avoid IOL. They recommend women start eating date fruit four weeks before their due date and have had some encouraging results.

The research was carried out at Jordan University of Science and Technology in 2008. Women were asked to eat SIX dates per day four weeks before they were due till they were in labour. They had a control group who did not eat any dates at all.

The women who ate the dates were more dilated when presenting in labour. On averate 4cm compared to 2cm. Intact membranes where more common amongst the date eaters, 83% vs 60%. As you know from reading this blog it is better for a pain free labour if your membranes remain intact untill you are ready to push.

Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those eating the dates compared with 79% who did not get a date. Use of the drip to speed up labour was only 28% in the date group and a very significant 47% in the control group.

Early labour was shorter in the date group and the researchers concluded that the consuption of date fruit in the last four weeks of pregnancy significantly reduced the need for IOL. So, in the interests of science I bought a bag of ready to eat dates to see what they tasted like. I liked them and am currently eating one a day to use them up. Not sure I could eat 6 a day, would have to cut them up and put them on porridge or have them with ice cream. But, what the heck, who cares what they taste like as long as they work.

Let me know how you get on. x :-Q

Ref: Al-Kuran O, Al-Mehaisen L, Bawadi H, Beitawi S, Amarin Z. (2011) The Effect of Late Pregnancy Consumption of Date Fruit on Labour and Delivery. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 31(1) page 29-31.

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Peaceful Birth Project.

 Ancient Wisdom and Research Agree: Amazing Fruit Eases Labor and Prevents Postpartum Hemorrhage
 Eating dates to ease labor, oxytocyn and postpartum hemorrhage: ancient wisdom and research agree

The date fruit is the product of the date palm, a tree native to Northern Africa and the Middle East. There is a wide variety of dates including the better known Medjool and Deglet Noor. Each variety is unique in size, sweetness, flavor, and texture. Containing at least 15 minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, 23 types of amino acids, vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, 14 types of fatty acids, dietary fiber and a lot more, these sweet little fruits are a nutritional powerhouse. [International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2003]

The photo is from a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology which concludes that eating 6 dates daily during the last four weeks of pregnancy “significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome”.  Some significant findings:
  • Cervical dilation was significantly greater in the date-eating mamas upon arrival at the hospital
  • 83% of mothers who consumed dates had their membranes intact upon admission at the hospital 
  • 96% of the women who ate dates went into labor on their own
  • Use of Pitocin (synthetic Oxytocin) was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit mothers (47%)
  • The latent phase of the first stage of labor was almost 7 hours shorter in the date-eating mothers compared with the non-date fruit eaters (510 min vs 906 min). Not bad for eating a few dates!

Very interesting research comparing the use of dates and Pitocin in the management of postpartum hemorrhage.  The study demonstrates a significant reduction in the amount of postpartum bleeding experienced by women who consumed date fruit compared to women who received synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin). The randomized clinical trial was done in two hospitals. Immediately after the delivery of the placenta one group was give 50 gram of dates. Another group  received 10 units of synthetic oxytocin in an intramuscular injection.  Blood loss mean in the end of first hour after delivery were significantly different in dates and oxytocin groups (104 ml vs 141.6 ml) The researchers suggest that dates are effective for management of postpartum hemorrhage because dates have Calcium, serotonin, tannin, linoleic acid, enzimes, iron and other nutrients beneficial to control bleeding and prevent anemia. Khadem, Sharaphy, Latifnejad (2007)


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Pain Free Labour for Kristyn.

Shared by Kristyn
I was 41 weeks 4 days and had, had several bouts of practice labor that never went anywhere so I was growing discouraged. Baby had certainly kept me on my toes between having to be manually turned (ecv) twice the last time being at 38 weeks as well as going so late, so I had lots of chances to practice deep meditation. The thing that helped me the most was a play list of songs who’s lyrics were very meaningful to me and my faith. When I was really worried or upset I would turn on the worship songs and close my eyes and sing even during my practice contractions. And I found that when I did it was far easier to relax and embrace them.
The reason this was important to me was the realization that contractions are there to open your cervix. If you relax through them they are not as painful and they are far more effective.
I learned this through the hypnobirthing course I took as well as the book “Ina May’s guide to childbirth” I highly recommend both in preparation for birth.
The morning of his birth I woke early with very strong waves that were coming every 4 minutes. I ate breakfast took a bath, walked around and after an hour they were still coming but this time accompanied by show, loose bowels and other symptoms that let me know this time was likely the real deal. We called everyone and began preparing the birth space. I realized that they were spacing out and again became discouraged. Around 1 pm we went in to the midwife who did a membrane sweep and we began homeopathics. They immediately started coming every 3 minutes and didn’t stop. We headed home from the birth center.
I labored for an hour before my midwife called and decided the team needed to come. I bounced on the ball and stayed upright as much as possible.
At one point my sweet husband wrapped his arms around me. I grabbed his face and kissed him. Bam fireworks. My body immediately responded by giving me strong intensely pleasurable sensations. I kissed him some more. They were definitely contractions but instead of hurting they just made me knock kneed and want to kiss him  more. My entire body buzzed. I felt madly in love and connected with him more then ever before. We did this for a good 30 minutes before the midwifes arrived and it was pure nirvana.
They checked me and I was a 7. I got in the tub and it was euphoric. I relaxed in the tub and let the warm water envelop me. I still couldn’t believe that I was actually going to meet my sweet baby boy soon.
One of my very favorite songs came on and I began singing. Soon a contraction began and it was strong. I started to tense up but then I remembered from the days before that when I sang, it became easier and so I continued to sing along and the most incredible thing happened. The pain went away, my body relaxed and I soaked in the gorgeous lyrics and beautiful melody floating across the water bringing praises to my maker. Tears of gratitude poured from my eyes and I just said thank you over and over again.

I stayed here for a couple of hours, singing through contractions, rocking back and forth, praying, and making out with my super sexy man. I was so relaxed and so grateful for this amazing day that the birth team was having a challenge determining when I was contracting.
After a while I got out of the tub and drank water, had a small snack of apples and apple juice and labored on the toilet for a while. I had loose bowels and felt the urge to poop every time I had a contraction, because of this I noticed my body tensing so when I sat on the toilet I completely relaxed and everything began intensifying. I felt him dropping, and my bag bulging. Though the contractions were more intense, as long as I sang or my husband rubbed my shoulders I could manage them well and felt them opening my cervix.
I decided to lay down for a while and asked my midwife to break my water because I felt like it would speed things up. It did. The second she broke it he moved down deep into my pelvis. The pressure was intense and I decided to move back to the tub. I was a 9 and my body was working hard to bring him into the world. I leaned against the tub and my precious midwife wrapped her arms around my shoulders.
I decided at that point that I was ready for him to be born and wasn’t scared anymore about tearing. I accepted the possibility and let go. I said out loud,
 “My cervix is fully open, He is not too big. He will fit, I won’t tear.”
And literally 2 contractions later I was pushing. 7 minutes later I was holding my beautiful son. I didn’t tear and was so relieved to finally be holding him that I cried happy tears. I wanted him to be born into a peaceful worship filled environment and I got my wish. I am still so amazed when I look back at the video and am absolutely blown away by how peaceful and pleasurable his birth was. Jorge Ryan was 8#10oz,  21 inches long and pure perfection.

Pain Free Labour books available from Amazon.