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!
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!
Or as many call it, Kangaroo care.
While it is becoming more of a regular in many birthing facilities, there are still many reasons why it is important and why putting it into your birth plan is a good thing to do!
What is kangaroo care?
Just as it sounds, it is holding baby against your bare chest. Typically with a blanket over baby's body to help keep them warm.
It was first introduced regularly in the NICU (it is even considered safe and beneficial in most instances to do while attached to most machines), but now is a pretty regular practice during a birth.
Some people are even able to do it before leaving the OR during a cesarean.
Why kangaroo care?
Body temperature control.
Heart rate and breathing regulation.
Encourages breast milk production.
Why wouldn't you?
Medical issues with birthing person or baby.
Want or need to decrease or eliminate breast milk supply.
You don't want to.
You are planning to sleep, under the influence, or drowsy.
Kangaroo care is an amazing choice and option for most families.
In many instances, even if the birthing person isn't able to do it immediately,
a partner or family member can also help and fill in any time!
It is an excellent way for
new parents to bond with their baby,
even if they aren't the parent doing the feeding.
If you haven't heard by now, mommy wars are a real thing.
Everything from your son's penis to choosing a cesarean or an epidural.
Shaming and persecution.
Isolation and judgement.
It seems everything about being pregnant and being a parent brings on judgement.
You can't turn your head without someone commenting
"You're huge! You have twins in there?"
"Why are you giving them a bottle?"
While we search for our connections with other parents in the isolating early days of motherhood, we enter the forums online: looking to connect, to find answers, and to maybe validate our feelings.
Some, sadly most, are faced with a hard truth...
Judgement comes without warning there too.
A simple post of "why isn't my baby sleeping through the night yet?" can make sparks fly with judgement ranging from sleeping arrangements, sleep training methods, and every personal parenting choice you've made up to this point.
(I mean "it is all your fault you let them come into your bed that one time, so now you've screwed them for life!")
Judgement doesn't stop online, even in public...
"Why aren't you baby wearing?"
"You haven't lost any weight since you had the baby?"
"You should cover up!"
It never seems to end.
We all have our opinions, sadly they typically come out in the form of judgement.
This is why we go above and beyond to ensure we our nonjudgemental!
Our birth doulas won't try to talk you into or out of anything.
Our postpartum doulas aren't going to talk you into or out of anything.
We support you.
You are an adult.
You know your family, yourself, and your child the best!
While we are the experts in normal, we won't try telling you what to do.
The evidence sometimes isn't what you want or what you need to do for you and your family and we know that.
We answer questions and support your thoughts ,feelings, and choices on what you feel is the best.
We can help you by asking questions to get to those conclusions,
but this isn't our life.
We support you, without judgement.
Have a baby.
It'll be fun, they say...
It is all fun and games until you are peeing every time you sneeze
or every time someone says something too funny!
Not to mention jumping on a trampoline is a thing of the past...
Pregnancy and postpartum incontinence is the butt of many jokes and facebook memes,
but it is really frustrating and can be super embarrassing.
So, why exactly does it happen?
The main reason is because your pelvic floor muscles have taken a beating. Even if you have a cesarean, your muscles have stretched and held up quite a lot of extra weight and pressure for a long 9 months. Those muscles that typically help you start and stop the urine flow are just not what and where and how they used to be.
Hormones and your uterus shrinking back down, putting direct pressure onto your bladder can play a big factor as well.
So, what in the world can you do?
We've probably all heard of kegals by this point, but if not it is the exercising/ tensing of your pelvic floor muscles. Like stated above, incontinence is caused by loss of pelvic floor control and strength, these directly target those muscles to help get them into shape.
We probably all know what squats are as well. They help work the pelvic floor muscles in a different way than kegals do and are a perfect compliment. Just ensure you google some good form videos and are doing them properly!
Drink more water.
While it sounds counter intuitive, drinking less only makes you vulnerable to dehydration and UTIs, it doesn't help.
Panty liners and pads.
A lot of the time a small panty liner will be enough to take care of the little bit of a leak you may have, but if not some thin pads are a good option as well. There are so many super trim options out there at this point, no one will ever know and they are super fast absorbing.
Cross you legs.
While this isn't a long term fix, it does help in the moment.
Don't wait until you feel you really have to urinate. Set a timer on your phone and try going every 30-45 minutes and start spreading it out further and further each day. Sometimes we just have to retrain our bodies to help the physical connection.
Talk to your doctor.
They are your best starting off place for what may work more long term if it is an ongoing issue and also may have some treatments, ideas, and options for you.
Seek out a pelvic floor specialist.
Pelvic floor specialists used to only be used for serious issues, but more and more we are realizing what an amazing asset they are to every person post birth! If you don't know one ask your doctor for a referral, they can give you some of the best advice and tips and help you out with targeted exercises.
There's no quick fix for it.
There are medications out there that can help as well,
but once again, your best first line of defense is talking with your care provider about options and ideas.
It happens to nearly every person postpartum and while it may happen at the most inconvenient times,
it isn't just you and you're not alone in the struggle to cough without needing to be on the toilet every time!
There's one thing for certain...
Being tired and sore sucks!
Fatigue during pregnancy is a very typical complaint.
Whether it is the first trimester or the third, we hear it all the time:
Do you have any ideas on how to
not be so tired all the time?
Here's a few of our favorite tips:
This one seems a bit obvious, but make sure you're getting plenty of rest.
You need more than you used to, you're growing a human (or two, or three) for goodness sakes; don't skimp on the sleep and the naps! Having trouble sleeping? More pillows and one of those eye covers work wonders!
Drink plenty of water.
Being dehydrated can be a huge cause of fatigue (as well as a slew of other things). Check with your care provider to see how much they'd ideally like you to be drinking and see where you're at.
Change your plans.
I know, I know... baby is already changing things, but the truth is filling your schedule and being as busy as you used to be may just not work anymore! Try making sure you can be home and in bed at about the same time and remember it is okay to say "NO" to doing things.
This is another one of those obvious ones, but no one really craves carrots during pregnancy... Do your best. The vitamins and minerals your body needs are best from fresh fruits and veggies! (We wont judge your midnight ice cream though)
Yes, we just told you to take it easy, but moderate exercise (as long as you're cleared by your care provider) can boost your energy like crazy! You may also be thinking "how can I possibly work out when I'm already this tired!?" but thankfully even just a walk can help boost your energy.
Have your care provider check your iron, Vit B, and Vit D.
All these things can play a huge role in feeling down, so if you're really struggling ask if they thing you might have some levels off and see about getting tested and what you can do to help.
Fatigue caused by pregnancy can be a huge bummer,
but hopefully with some of these tips
and the support of your
care provider, family, and doula you can get through to the other side without falling asleep too many weird places!
Jessica Anne Dill
Mom of 5, Wife, Student, Professional Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and best friend of coffee and long naps!