You've probably heard about it or maybe seen a pic of a baby covered in it.
You know, that cheesy looking "gunk" on the baby when it comes out?
What is vernix made of?
Vernix is made up of water, sebum (cells off baby and hair),
fatty acids, cholesterol, and waxy lipid molecules.
What does vernix do?
Especially while inside, it protects baby's skin from the acidity of the amniotic fluid.
It acts a sealant and without it baby would come out looking like a prune.
Helping baby to wiggle and slide out.
4. Muffle Sound.
Because it is covering baby entirely, it is also muffling sounds while in the womb for the baby.
It is like a nice blanket of protection against temperature change for the baby.
So, why leave vernix on baby after birth?
The World Health Organization recommends leaving baby unbathed for at least 24 hours. It is thought that the benefits in the womb continue after birth; so it can help regulate baby's temperature, keep baby moisturized, and helps protect the skin.
It may act as an antimicrobial and also may aid in wound healing.
It is also thought to act as a barrier between baby and meconium, if present.
Why would a baby not have vernix?
Vernix doesn't develop until the third trimester, so if baby is premature, they may have very little or no vernix.
If baby is passed term, it also may have very little to none because of being absorbed into the amniotic fluid.
And some babies have a ton and some have very little, so it is totally dependent on your body and baby.
Vernix can gross some people out, for sure.
It can be thick and cheesy...
Many people want to wash baby right away to get the clean and that's totally fine!
Just like everything else, this is your baby and your choice.
But VERNIX is pretty cool stuff either way!
"Oh my gosh, I get to find out the sex next week!?
We've all seen these posts blasted by pregnant friends on the internet
and I'm sure we can all guess they are getting an ultrasound!
They are all testing and ultrasounds that may be done throughout your pregnancy.
The sonogram is done around 6-8 weeks to get a sometimes more accurate picture of your due date, baby's growth and development, and to ensure their aren't any major red flags.
The anatomy scan is done around 18-22 weeks. This is the most through check your baby will have before being born (pending any issues, obviously). They will check growth, development, ensure parts are working and where they should be. It is also when many people chose to find out the sex of their baby!
This is usually the last ultrasound done and sometimes the only one done.
The biophysical profile is a more intense test, typically done late in pregnancy to check of fetal growth, movement, amniotic fluid levels, placenta separation, and other factors. Being pregnant with multiples, higher maternal age, post dates, and many other things may play a part in your care provider wanting to do this test.
So, where do these tests happen?
Many times your care provider will schedule you to have the ultrasounds done at a later date in the hospital or a referral to a private ultrasound company.
In Lafayette there are also some options for independent ultrasounds if you'd like:
The Matrix Life Center will do a free pregnancy confirmation ultrasound.
Baby Bliss Ultrasound offers many packages for expecting parents who'd like to have a more intimate experience and are offered on an elective basis.
Whether you have just peed on the stick or are 41+2,
there's a chance you will soon be headed in to an ultrasound!
(The information in this blog post is in no way medical advice and is intended for informational use only)
But we aren't here to plug apps,
we're going to go through how you can actually time them with pencil and paper.
It can be a pretty great thing for a wanting to help family member or a partner to do
and feel like they are being super helpful!
The frequency of contractions are timed from start to start.
Start a timer when the contraction starts and keep it going until the next one starts (and restart it). Then record that time in one column.
The duration of a contraction refers to how long the actual contraction lasts.
Timing from the beginning of the contraction to the end of the contraction. You'll simply need to just look at the time since it started when it ends (don't stop the timer). You'll write that time down in another column.
You'll end up with a paper with three columns because you'll also want to write down the actual time periodically, so you know how long they've been going on.
You may have heard of the 5-1-1 rule or the 4-1-1 rule
(many care providers use this to explain when to head into the hospital or birthing facility),
this is basically referring to an average of each of your three columns!
5 or 4 minutes in frequency.
1 minute in duration.
For 1 hour.
Easy peasy, right?
Like we said, most people these days just use an app. They track and create the spreadsheet for you,
with just the push of a finger when the contraction starts and when it ends.
But now you know how to time contractions
and what those apps actually do!
It is no secret that when you have a baby, you're going to lose some sleep.
"Days and nights are mixed up"
"We'll sleep again someday"
"It is like bright eyes at 2am!"
Have you ever googled "sleep deprivation effects"?
Trouble with thinking and concentration.
Mood swings and mood changes.
High blood pressure.
Low sex drive.
And the list goes on...
There was one study done that sited the chance of depression in women with poor sleep quality and quantity was 3.24 times than that of women getting more regular sleep! *
3.24 times greater chance to get depression, just because of lack of good sleep.
So, it is no wonder the rates of postpartum depression
and postpartum mood disorders are so high and rising.
So, what can we do to help this no sleeping norm after a baby?
The answer doesn't come in training babies right off the bat.
While we see absolutely nothing wrong with sleep training, the first few weeks are not quite the times yet!
So what else is there?
This could look like hiring our postpartum doulas for overnights,
maybe even just a few nights a week.
(We can be there even on super short notice!)
And/or a family member or close friend that stays the night and helps out with waking and feedings.
(There is absolutely a way to keep breastfeeding as a priority as well as get some sleep too,
which is sometimes people's biggest concern.)
You need and deserve some care and sleep after your baby comes.
You don't have to do it alone.
We would love to help!
At least once, if not many more times, a day
in the pregnancy groups I'm in on Facebook
"How do I get labor going again?"
It may be a doula looking for advice on a client
or just a birthing person curious on why their contractions started steady for a while,
but then fizzled out.
What do I answer every single time?
EAT A GOOD MEAL.
when there are hundreds of blogs
that tell you to do all the things,
to move into 100 different positions,
would I give such boring advice?
Because going into ACTIVE LABOR exhausted doesn't help anyone!
I'd say 90% of the time I hear stories about birthing people getting an epidural they hadn't planned on,
it was because they say they were completely exhausted.
I don't think so!
If you're in labor, you're in labor.
Doing 100 stair sets, walking for hours,
or moving into 1,000 different positions isn't going to change anything.
And as frustrating as it is
(I know it is)
it isn't going to get you into active labor, if you're not in labor.
It is going to get you tired, irritable, and frustrated.
There are certainly so many other factors at play here
(and, by golly, I know all those positions if you really want to do them),
but REST is your friend.
(You won't get the option unless you have good postpartum help for much longer anyhow)
Your emotional and physical well being will thank you!
We hear it all the time:
"I sure hope my labor is quick!"
Precipitous births happen.
They happen every day.
While they aren't the norm, quick deliveries are something most people dream of.
They do come with their own sets of issues that most people don't think about though.
Birth is just as much and emotional journey as it is a physical one for many people, not having time to emotionally process through the course of labor and birth can be extremely difficult for some.
You have very little time to come to grips with the fact that you are having a baby.
You may feel extremely disappointed that your plans are going out of the window.
You may feel scared at not having the birth team you planned.
You may be worried about you and baby's safety with the possibility of not making it to your planned birthing place.
You may feel extremely out of control and panic not being able to get anything in order.
There's a whole plethora of emotions that can happen during a quick labor and especially after while trying to process the situation.
It has been reported that the contractions feel more intense and
there is no real time for that epidural you may have wanted and planned on the whole pregnancy;
you'll be going med free and feeling it all.
Infection to you or your baby is more likely because of delivery in an unclean environment.
Infant aspiration has also been reported higher in precipitous births.
While not all of these are going to happen to everyone
and, as always, we recognize that some birthing people have quick labors and are ecstatic about it...
Next time you wish hard for a quick labor
or talk about wanting one in front of a bunch of parents,
try to remember
QUICK doesn't always mean better!
We do not bring this topic to light to frighten anyone, but simply to help everyone gain a better understanding of the reality of some situations.
We'd love to help you get a plan in place for situations like this!
CONTACT US TODAY
There's been quite the hype lately surrounding placentas.
Everyone from celebrities to the CDC is talking placenta encapsulation.
There's sadly NO governing rules over how this process is done,
which can lead to some pretty shady practices.
We aren't knocking anyone for their personal choices,
but we do want you to know our safety standards and how we do things to ensure you and your entire family have the best and safest experience possible
if you chose to have your placenta encapsulated with us:
#1- We ONLY do it in YOUR home.
Honestly, we don't want your organ in our homes (you know with our kids, animals, and germs).
This ensures if your placenta comes in contact with bacteria,
it is from your home and you have already been exposed to it.
#2- We follow food safe handling guidelines at ALL times.
Cross-comtamination prevention, sanitizing, and even disposable cutting boards;
we ensure we aren't mixing raw and cooked and possibly exposing bacteria to different things.
#3- We have a OSHA blood born pathogens certification.
Blood born pathogens are kind-of (ok a HUGE) a deal. We have been certified in and follow the proper safety precautions to prevent the spread.
#4- We know and can articulate when it is safe to encapsulate.
Been out of the fridge for more than 4 hours... sorry; We just won't risk bacteria growth and issues that may effect the safety of you and consuming your placenta.
There's only a few reasons we have evidence and we can't encapsulate, but they are major concerns and we know them well.
#5- We don't deal in RAW.
Because the way to kill bacteria is to bring something up past the kill zone; Which (for poultry, which is the most bacteria resistant to kill) is 160 degrees.
#6- We have attended an extensive hands-on training with an organization
and trainer who has been doing this for many years.
Did you know you can learn how to encapsulate a placenta off youtube!? YIKES! We've ensured we know the safety protocols and instead of "practicing on you," we've actually done the process in training.
#7- We follow the WHO guidelines.
You are sent a transportation kit which contains everything you need to follow the World Health Organizations guidelines for organ transportation.
#8- Your placenta never leaves YOU.
We won't come pick up your placenta or take it anywhere. You and your own organ never separate,
so there's no concern of a mix up.
While some of this may seem like common sense, it really isn't to some.
This is an organ, a food product, and a supplement you will take for weeks... safety matters!
These aren't standards every encapsulator upholds
or every client is even looking for when having the process done or seeking out someone to do it,
but WE strive to ensure the safest process in the industry for you and for every client!
Things can seem quite overwhelming when you begin your pregnancy journey and
start to realize there are so many choices to make.
Everything from nursery room color,
where baby will sleep,
epidurals and pain medications,
who will be at your birth,
what bottles to use,
what breast pump to get,
where should baby sleep,
how can you connect with local parents...
There's lots of choices to be made
and even more options to sort through!
You options are really quite endless!
As long as you know what they are.
Sure, you can crowd source on FB and get a lot of advice
(and sometimes WAY more than you bargained for with just a simple question),
but wouldn't it be great if there was some sort of expert you could ask about what options you have and the tried and true best ones that will meet your goals?!
In come our doulas...
Whether it be birth or postpartum, we really do know our stuff!
We've researched, stay up to date on the newest trends,
have worked with many families,
and take your personality and unique family in to account!
Although we will never give you any medical advice, we can help you navigate and sort through all the options, to help you feel confident in your decision making process!
And because we are truly nonjudgmental,
we can present every option without bias
and without our personal goals in mind.
There's no right or wrong for any new baby or any family,
but when looking for options that can make a huge difference
it is always a good idea to talk to the professionals!
Is *this* normal?
Is *THIS* normal?
It is amazing that when we really know there's no real "normal",
we ask this type of question so often, especially in pregnancy and with a new baby.
There is a spectrum of normal when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum
and our doulas are trained to know what it looks like.
Our birth doulas know what normal can look like during pregnancy and while you give birth
(and if it is a question at all will refer you to your care provider).
Our postpartum doulas know what normal can look like with your newborn
and with you after having a baby
(and if it is a question at all will refer you to your care provider).
Sometimes, just asking if something is normal and getting the reassurance that it is okay to call your care provider can be huge!
(It is always okay if you have concerns, by the way)
Is it normal for my baby to cry all the time?
Is it normal for me to be spotting?
Is it normal for me to have such a range of emotions?
Is it normal for me to be worried about the birth?
Is not having a sex drive normal?
Is it normal that my baby wants to eat all the time?
Is this latch normal?
Is it normal to not want to eat?
While we certainly won't be diagnosing these issues,
we do know what the "textbook range of normal" can look like.
We know how to ask questions and help you come to the conclusions yourself.
Our doulas know to tell you it is okay to call your care provider,
even if it seems pretty normal because that peace of mind is valuable.
There's really no such thing as normal,
but your doula can walk with you while you figure out your normal!
Where do I start?
While I am very aware many struggle immensely trying to get to this point
(and you my friends, are ROCK STARS)...
I can't help but be honest:
Motherhood kinda sucks.
I mean, yeah the kids are cute and sometimes their smiles light up a room,
but when it really comes down to it,
Motherhood isn't fun for most of us or most of the time!
The world wants to tell us that if we say this we are bad people,
that we don't love our kids.
But that just isn't the case!
I love my kids with all my heart,
I'd jump in front of a bus for them in a heartbeat,
but motherhood just isn't my jam!
I don't like wiping butts and cleaning up pee.
I don't like feeling like someone needs me 24/7.
I don't like the constant touching.
I don't like feeding people at least 3 times a day.
(Like, who eats this much!?)
I don't like not being able to pee alone.
I don't like having to pay someone, just so I can walk out of my front door alone.
I don't like not sleeping.
I don't like the can't even get in the car without it being a production.
I don't like picking poop out of the bathtub...
POOP, out of the bathtub!
Some say, "You knew what you were getting into"
Does anyone REALLY know until it happens?!
Saying I'll be fine not sleeping for a couple months (or years)
is completely different than LIVING with no sleep!
Saying I love babies and can't wait for all the cute cuddles
is completely different than holding a crying baby for hours and walls covered in poop
(because yes, poop just keeps happening)!
Saying I LOVE my children
is completely different than loving motherhood.
There are some amazing and beautiful moments, don't get me wrong.
But it is OK to not love motherhood.
It is okay to not like the day to day and the loneliness that can come with it.
It is okay to feel those feelings!
I hear you.
I love my children too,
but I don't love motherhood.
(And before y'all go on about LOVING motherhood,
I know some people do... and that's cool too!)
The original blog that spawned my feelings of being able to write this one can be found HERE
Jessica Anne Dill
Mom of 5, Wife, Doula trainer, Professional Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and best friend of coffee and long naps!