Breast Feeding FAQ’s

Breast feeding is always a hot point of discussion for the moms in our Facebook community. Whether it’s your first baby, or your fourth little one, just as the experience of pregnancy is never the same, neither is the experience of breast feeding. While one child may take to it instantly, the next might just not be interested. And while one experience might be smooth sailing, the next might be painful. We’ve talked to some moms over the years about all of these things, including issues with milk coming in, C-sections, and pain.

Why am I Having a Tough Time?

This is one of the most common questions that we get when a mother begins breast feeding for the first time. Everyone experiences breast feeding differently, and while many moms will tell you that it was smooth sailing, there are quite a few who struggle with it during the first week or so. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

If you do find that you’re struggling with breast feeding, but you have your mind set on sticking to it, take advantage of the experts around you. The nurses, OBGYN’s, and the lactation consultants are there for you, to answer all of your questions and make sure you have everything that you need before you head home. Our AOA providers will do everything that we can to make sure you are prepared and confident in everything that you do, including breast feeding, before you head home.

Patience, a positive outlook, and a little bit of resilience is sometimes needed to find a comfortable schedule for both you and your new baby and breast feeding. Don’t worry, you two will get it figured out.

When Does the Milk Come In?

In the first few days after your baby is born you will produce colostrum. Colostrum is also called ‘pre-milk’ because it contains essential properties that protect babies from their new world. Colostrum contains antibacterial and immune-system-boosting substances that are important for your new baby. If you have decided not to breast feed, your new baby can be supplemented with many essential nutrients as well through formula.

After a few days of producing colostrums, your amazing body will automatically began to create the milk that your baby will need until they’re done breast feeding. Many moms find the experience of the milk coming in rather uncomfortable, as the transition can last up to 10 days.

Relieving Pain During Breast Feeding

During the transition phase when your milk is coming in, it can help to massage the breast to help release the milk. Many mothers also use cold packs specially created for this area of the body. Simply breast feeding your newborn can be painful on the nipple, so come talk to us about what creams and/or ointments that you can use to ease this pain. If you’re not sure whether or not your little one is latched on correctly, let us know and we’ll discuss proper breast feeding techniques. If your baby is not latched on correctly it can cause some pain.

Breast feeding is a wonderful thing, and though it might not be for everyone, we are here for any question that you might have regarding both breast feeding and formula feeding.

Pregnancy and Emotional Health

Pregnancy brings with it a range of emotions, from elation to apprehension about taking care of a new little life. Your emotional state may also be all over the place because your hormones are almost in a constant state of fluctuation, as your body is taken over by the baby.  Your Arizona OBYN Affiliates provider is available for medical needs but also for emotional support to help you make this a great experience in your life.

 

Yes, it’s a stressful time, but it is the greatest moments of your life, and we are here to guide you through it. Staying positive and removing stress from your life as much as possible is just one aspect of a happy pregnancy. When you come in to meet with your physician, emotional health, your thoughts, fears and questions are always something we openly discuss. In fact, it’s part of the pregnancy process that we encourage; communication on all levels with your physician.

 

Depending on the level of lifestyle changes you are going to be making during your pregnancy, you will find that the more you are able to relax, kick your feet up, and remove stress, the happier your pregnancy will be.  (Yes, feel free to use this reason for not cooking dinner, having your partner do the dishes, and even getting a nice massage every once in a while).

 

Communicate with your family and friends about reducing your stress, spending more time doing fun things. Try to do something every day, at least one thing, to take care of your own emotional health. Whether that is some breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, or simply kicking your feet up, do something for you and let your partner know that it’s your time.

Avoid drama when possible. If your friends are high drama, perhaps consider scaling back the time you spend with them. Talk to your physician about ways to enhance your overall state of emotional health during these next 9 months. If you spend time focusing on ways to make yourself feel more calm and relaxed, you will be a better place mentally to sail through your pregnancy and all its related physical changes and experiences.

 

If you feel down, anxious, scared or have questions about your emotional health, which is completely normal, talk to us. We are here not just for medical purposes, but for the emotional ones that inevitably come along with pregnancy. It’s all normal and quite common, but it can feel overwhelming when pregnant, so talk to us ahead of time so that we can address anything that may sneak up.

Labor and Birthing Myths

Oftentimes, what you don’t know is what scares you the most, especially when it comes to pregnancy and labor. You’ve heard all of the horror stories; the labor that lasted three days, the tearing, the recovery. It always seems like when you tell family and friends that you are pregnant, sure they are excited and congratulate you, but then inevitably comes the horror stories. Let’s take a look at those horror stories, those fears of the unknown, and lay it out there. The reality might not be as scary as others make it out to be.

Labor Horror Stories vs Reality

Why is it that whenever you talk about labor, everyone and their mom feels the need to tell you the worst parts about it? And, since you’ve never gone through it before, it’s easy to get sucked into that fear of the unknown.

Myth #1 – Complications that aren’t really complications are always an issue. What I mean by that is often times people will find something wrong with the situation and claim that it will lead to complications. For example, if you’re over 35 and considered AMA (advanced maternal age) there will be complications. This simply isn’t true anymore.  Another quite common one is that if you have a prolonged pregnancy (past 40 weeks) there will be complications. In fact, times have changed greatly and it is still considered ‘normal’ for a pregnancy to last between 37 and 42 weeks from ‘last menstrual period.’

Myth #2 – Moms love to talk about how scary it was when their labor failed to progress, which led to a C-section. While failure to progress is a clinical reason for C-section, only 8 percent of all labor complications are due to failure to progress. If this is something that you’re genuinely concerned about, there are things that you can do to lower your risk, exercise, gaining no more weight than is recommended, and remaining at home in a relaxing environment until your contractions are five minutes apart (with physician approval).

Myth #3 – Moms also love to tell the ‘heroic’ tale of how they fought through the pain to have an ‘all natural childbirth.’ They’ll tell you that it’s the only way to go, no drugs and no risk for having a groggy feeling or putting the baby at risk. Everyone experiences childbirth differently, and each situation is different. Having an epidural or natural birth can be a tough decision for many mommies to be. Speak to your physician to find out the best birthing option for you. Read the studies, do your homework, and make an informed decision for yourself.

Myth #4 – Lacerations and tearing is a topic that really no one wants to hear about, but somehow it makes its way into birthing conversations all of the time. This is one of a new mom’s greatest fears during labor, but we’re here to say that it doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. Even the most minor lacerations only occur in roughly 16 percent of all labors. Second-degree tears, which require stitches, only occur in 17 percent of all labors.

Myth #5 – Everyone has a natural fear of complications such as umbilical cord issues or heart rate issues, so let’s take a look at these. Out of all labors across the U.S, only 23 percent have umbilical cord issues. This can be where the cord is wrapped around the neck or entangled around the baby in some way making labor and birth a bit more complicated. As trained labor and delivery physicians and nurses, this is something that we are well versed at. With simple maneuvering and/or manipulating, most of these situations can be remedied quickly. As for heart rate issues, this only occurs in 15 percent of all labors.

If you have questions or concerns about any of these issues, or need some clarification on other topics, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately or visit our Facebook Page to ask the community of moms.

The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy will decrease weight gain, may ease the pain of delivery, lower your risk for gestational diabetes, reduce pressure on your lower back (as mentioned in a previous article), and can increase your overall energy levels during those 9 months. We’ve spoken about yoga during pregnancy, and stretching, but how important is exercise, really? Can exercise make pregnancy and labor easier? The answer; yes it can.

Mommy and Baby Benefits to Exercise

Feeling your best during pregnancy can be tough. Besides the aches and pains, there can be mood swings, cravings, and plain feeling down.

  • Endorphins: Exercise has been proven in scientific research to release endorphins; those little protein molecules that can control pain, cravings, reduce stress and make you feel good. Endorphins can be released during meditation, deep breathing, laughter, and exercise.
  • Improved Posture: According to SutterHealth.com, one of the most important contributions to a healthy pregnancy is good posture. Maintaining good posture can reduce pressure on your lower back, reduce pain and decrease fatigue. Mindful exercises that focus on the lower back and abdominal muscles will help train your back to maintain good posture throughout the pregnancy.
  • Gestational Diabetes: According to FitPregnancy.com, exercise can reduce your risk for gestational diabetes by as much as 27 percent. While genetics and age play key roles in whether you are at risk for developing gestational diabetes, you can fight batck with exercise.
  • Stress Relief: Stress can play a major role in your pain tolerance, levels of fatigue, mood, even preterm labor. A high degree of anxiety and stress can affect your baby’s health, as well as your own, contributing to a boost in risk for preterm labor and/or delivering a low-birthweight baby.  Regular exercise reduces stress, plain and simple.
  • Less Weight Gain: With regular exercise, research has shown you are more likely to gain less weight. Studies have shown that women who exercise during pregnancy put on 7 pounds less than those who didn’t exercise during pregnancy.
  • Increased Odds for Vaginal Birth: According to FitPregnancy.com, regular exercisers are 75 percent less likely to need a forceps delivery, 55 percent less likely to have an episiotomy and up to four times less likely to have a Cesarean section.

On top of those wonderful benefits to exercising during pregnancy, your labor might be shorter and less painful; you’ll likely experience less leg swelling, less likely to experience morning sickness, and will reap the benefits of impressed onlookers at the gym. It’s always nice to get some positive feedback when it comes to your appearance during pregnancy, and this added little benefit will help to decrease some of the self-consciousness that we all struggle with.

Pregnancy and Streching

While there are many aspects of your pregnancy that you do not have control over, there are still just as many that you can manage with determination; mood, soreness, and the pain associated with childbirth can be managed with exercise, stretching and breathing techniques. For the purpose of today’s article, let’s dive into the important of some good stretching to get your body through the day-to-day, and to prepare you for childbirth.

Stretching While Pregnant

Stretching is an amazing activity that everyone should be doing every day, especially while pregnant. Stretching not only increases overall flexibility, it teaches slow breathing, controlled breathing, and releases tension throughout the body that could be causing pain from muscle tightening.

Stretching and controlled breathing go hand-in-hand, and by teaching your body to relax with controlled breathing you will be preparing yourself for labor pains. When stretching, be sure to breathe deeply and slowly, feeling your abdomen and lungs expanding fully, allowing for better gas exchange and more oxygen to your baby. In the end, you and your baby will fee refreshed and better than ever.

Useful Pregnancy Stretches

The most common pregnancy stretch, according to Mayo Clinic, is the lower back stretch. This can be incredibly beneficial, helping you feel your best and increasing oxygen flow to your baby. Because pregnancy places a great deal of pressure on your lower back, and in fact changes your posture for a better part of 9 months, lower back pain is quite common, which can lead to other pregnancy aches and pains.

The lower back stretch, also known as the Cat Stretch in yoga, involves arching your back while on hands and knees on a soft surface. Inhale as you round your back, holding the position for 5 to 10 seconds, an exhaling deeply as you release the position. This will take pressure off of your lower back and help to relax those overused muscles of the spine.  (cat stretch photo)

Another area of the body pregnancy greatly affects are the hips. With the baby resting on your pelvis and lower abdomen, the hips deal with a lot more pressure than they normally would. Hip stretches are wonderful for releasing some of that pressure, decreasing pain, and preparing those hips for childbirth.

While it is often overlooked, the neck holds a great deal of tension during pregnancy, and releasing that pressure could decrease any headaches you’ve been having. The most basic way to stretch your neck is with neck rolls, tilting your head from side to side while maintaining focus on your breathing.

Remember, as you began to breathe deeper and more controlled while stretching your muscles, you are also helping to increase circulation, all of which are wonderful things for both yourself and your baby.

What stretches work for you? What have you found to be most effective at releasing lower back pressure and tension? Let us know here in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. Join the conversation!

Yoga for Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, often the last thing you feel like doing is moving…at all. However, the more you move and the more stretching you do, in particular, the more beneficial it is for you in every day. You will feel better and when it’s time to put in the work of delivering your baby, you will be so much more prepared physically. In fact, this is the main benefit of prenatal yoga, which is becoming a more popular pastime among moms-to-be. Yoga for moms can be done at just about any time during the pregnancy, unless yours is a high-risk pregnancy.

In fact, before starting any workout regimen, pregnant or not, it’s always prudent to check with your doctor first. During pregnancy, this point is even more poignant as you need to be aware of your general physical condition at all times. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, then you might consider prenatal yoga for any number of reasons.

Yoga for moms will improve your balance (which you’ll find declines towards the end of your pregnancy), helps you to become more limber and provides great muscle tone. More than that, you learn the art of deep breathing and how to use it to work through just about any situation, including labor pains. The process of breathing in yoga involves taking breaths through your nose and completely filling your lungs. You then exhale all of the air you just took in. This type of deep breathing will help you to maintain a sense of calm throughout the childbirth process, which can be frightening for first-time moms in particular. Yoga for moms can help to mitigate that fear through deep breathing.

In fact, according to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, researchers found that pregnant women that took prenatal yoga for at least 10 weeks were generally more comfortable during the labor process.  A similar study done in Thailand by researchers at the Prince of Songkla University found similar benefits, citing that yoga for moms helps pregnant women to maintain a better sense of peace and calm during the labor process, which in turn helps to control pain.

Yoga for moms is just another tool in the arsenal for women preparing to give birth. It provides invaluable mental and physical benefits to prepare you for the miraculous but laborious process of delivering a baby.