14 Gifts for a Wish List as a New Parent

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

14 Gifts for a Wish List as a New Parent

Shopping for pregnant people can be so hard. Knowing what to tell people to buy you as a pregnant person is so hard! One of the most meaningful gifts you can buy someone is something they need but one purchase for themselves! We’ve got you covered when it comes to gifting the pregnant people in your life things that will help make their pregnancy and postpartum a little bit more luxurious! 

  • Totum Women Cookies - These are cookies that taste good, support your milk supply, and have a wonderful mission! The mission behind this company is so much more than just lactation cookies! There is an online community aspect, online resources, and virtual events to help you know you are not alone! These are a wonderful gift for the new mama friend who is nursing or pumping! 

  • Thinx underwear - These are the best gift for a friend who you aren’t afraid to give an intimate gift--but one that will change their life! (Kinda like the friend who has never owned a vibrator-- you get her a vibrator!) These period underwear are perfect for postpartum! Matter of fact, they just created a postpartum set that was designed for supporting postpartum bleeding!

  • Silverette cups - These are a must have for any nursing or pumping parent. These tiny, but mighty silver nipple covers will be a game changer! Silver has natural healing properties such as being antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. They are all you need to heal your nipples and keep them healed while feeding your little one!

  • Mama strut pelvic brace - This is the ultimate gift for a postpartum, birthing parent. Anyone who has carried and birthed a baby needs one of these pelvic braces! This brace can be used in pregnancy to support that growing belly in the last few weeks of pregnancy and in postpartum to support your healing pelvic floor! It has a fun gel pack that can go in the crotch for vaginal deliveries and in a pocket on the belly for cesarean births. It also has a place to hold in place postpartum pads. It’s an investment, but if you can use it third trimester through the fourth trimester and beyond, it’s worth considering! 

  • Baobei maternity leggings + Baobei Pro Bump - When folks are buying for pregnant people, usually they are really buying for baby. But, what happens to the bump? As it grows, it will need support and Baobei’s maternity leggings + Pro Bump belly support band are perfect for giving your pregnant pal a boost--literally! The leggings are so comfy and the Pro Bump is just the hug you need to get you through the third tri! 

  • Kindred Bravely Hospital Bag Bundle - This is a gift that you can’t go wrong with because it is the essentials that any birthing person needs to have a baby! A buttery soft robe, a nursing tank, nursing bra, a labor and delivery gown, plus undies and socks! This is so luxurious and is sure to bring a huge smile to an expectant person’s face this holiday season! 

  • Lavie massager + Haakaa - Breastfeeding is hard work and one of the most influential factors in someone’s success of breastfeeding is the support they have around them. Give your friend a gift that says, “I support your choices” by gifting them a Haakaa and a Lavie massager! The haakaa is a milk collector that is so handy in collecting the letdown of the breast not being nursed or pumped! It can also be used to unclog blocked ducts and relieve mastitis! The Lavie massager is the perfect compliment to the haakaa! It is a handheld massager that can be placed in your nursing/pumping bra to help milk flow and to stimulate milk production! 

  • Audible subscription - Finding the time to read as a new parent can feel impossible, but a subscription to audible can be the game changer you’ve been waiting on! Audible is an audiobook subscription that has all of today’s latest books! You can find any genre and search by title or author! Each month you get a book credit so it’s easy to make ‘me-time’ a priority when it slips so easily into your day as an audio book! Listening to audiobooks during nursing sessions are a great way to keep yourself away in the early hours of the morning! 

  • Soy based candles + slippers - Candles are such a big hit when it comes to holiday gifts but the candles we give to pregnant friends (and friends who are trying to conceive or have little ones in the home) matter! Traditional candles are filled with all sorts of icky chemicals including perfumes and fragrances that are known hormones disruptors! If you are gifting candles, please make it a soy candles! And, no candle is complete without a cozy pair of slippers!

  • Natural Deodorant + Spa Kit - You know how much I love primally pure and all of their products! Well, their spa kit is to die for and a guaranteed hit with any new parent! It comes with 2 bath salts, body oil, and a dry brush! While you’re at it, pick them up some of my favorite deodorant! (Another product that is extremely harmful to pregnant and postpartum bodies!) This is the perfect gift to say, ‘Relax! You’re worth it!’

  • Kitara yoni steaming kit - Remember when I said the perfect gift was a gift someone wouldn’t buy themselves--well, this is it! Yoni steaming has incredible benefits and can be especially helpful in the healing process after birth! Steaming can help bring sensation back, return blood flow, and help nourish tissues that were involved in labor and delivery. A yoni steaming kit is the perfect gift for the hippie friend who loves to be in touch with her spiritual side! (Yoni steaming should be avoided in pregnancy. Always check with your healthcare provider before incorporating anything new into your routines!).

  • Ember cup - This is the ultimate mom gift for the early riser! She probably doesn’t get to drink hot coffee often. With little babes running around, coffee seems to get cold so quick! The Ember cup will keep coffee warm for hours! This cup can be controlled by your smartphone and it learns when to heat and when to turn off! You can get really fancy and customize the temperature of your coffee with the range of preset temps!

  • Expecting You Journal - This journal is the perfect place for writing out your feelings, emotions, experiences, and desires during pregnancy! We encourage our clients and members of The Birth Lounge to journal about their ideal birth! Did you know that journaling has health benefits that can pay off in labor? Studies have shown it can reduce intrusive and avoidant thoughts, reduce stress, problem solve more effectively, get clearer on your expectations, and increase self-esteem! This journal has cute illustrations and quotes throughout to keep you positive and motivated towards a healthy and happy birth!

  • Expecting Better + Cribsheet - Professor Emily Oster is a Economist and research junkie! When she had her own children, she was shocked at the discrepancies in advice and the wide spectrum of information thrown at new parents! Naturally, Dr. Oster turned to the stats and data. Through this, we all get to enjoy the benefits of her hard work through her books. She has broken down the science of many pregnancy taboos (like drinking coffee, cleaning the cat litter, and eating deli meat) in her first book, Expecting Better. This is my favorite book to suggest to pregnant people. Her second book, Cribsheet, is diving into the science of parenthood (like sleep training, breastfeeding, and the language development in your child!)

The holidays look a little different this year! But, that doesn’t mean the spirit of giving is any less strong! We will be spending less in travel costs and more in shipping, but know this is temporary. I look forward to spreading the joy of the holiday season with those I love by the gifts I give!!

*Some of these are clickable links! Tranquility by HeHe makes a small percentage on some of the links included. We appreciate your support!

A Survival Guide: Holidays After a Loss

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

(HeHe's article is published for Birch Baby HERE in its entirety.)

The holiday season can be hard for those who have experienced a loss this year. At a time of year that people are expected to automatically be happy and be cheery and bright-eyed, it can be painful to have to pretend to be enjoying yourself while you are dying inside. One mother described it as “a dark place of heartbreak and anger.” 

Through my work with Mothers’ who have experienced loss (or any kind of trauma), I have found that having a structure of mindsets to help you survive in high-stress situations is helpful. I was considering a survival guide for the holidays for expectant parents who have experienced loss, but then I thought why not just a general survival guide to help when you are coping with loss, no matter what time of year it is.

  • Know your limits (It’s people's’ job to respect that boundary). You have the right to pick and choose which events you attend and which events will too overwhelming emotionally. You can be honest with folks, too. It’s okay to say you aren’t ready, yet. If that’s too painful, have an excuse thought out beforehand. 
  • Share your feelings -or don’t- either way, you must advocate for yourself. By asking to be left alone or acknowledging the fact that you want to share is helping those around you learn how to best support you. Otherwise, you can politely tell people how they can best support you when they ask. 
  • Respect your own personal boundaries. At one point or another, you will find yourself in a situation that you thought you could handle, but turns out you weren’t ready. That’s okay, but know when to take a minute to be alone. Connect with your body, begin to recognize your body’s signs of feeling overwhelmed, and begin to remove yourself before you feeling out of control. 
  • Know when it’s bigger than you. Check out this blog on the “bigger than you approach” to interacting with challenging situations. We all have that one relative or friend of a friend who just won’t get it--no matter how hard you try. That’s okay. It’s not your job to help every single person you encounter understand, but it is your job to recognize when you’re causing yourself more stress than will pay off in the end. 
  • It’s OK to not be OK (and to say no). This is an important one. Refer to #1 where it says it’s okay to not only pick and choose which events you attend but to also be honest with people. See #3 where it says recognize and remove yourself from situations. I can’t stress enough how ok it is to not be ok. Literally, everyone has had moments when they were not okay and no one should expect you to be okay before you are ready. 
  • Start a new tradition to remember your baby. This one can be fun and can look like anything. I urge you to make it a celebration rather than a remembrance. I used to work with a family that got donuts each year to celebrate their angel baby’s birthday. They had two kids after their loss who knew what the holiday was and looked forward to the discussions about their brother each year. It can be as formal as you’d like, if that is your style, or as laid back as a donut date.

Part of the healing process is pushing yourself a healthy amount, but also recognizing the healing and work you still have to do. It’s okay to remember that sometimes the only cure is time. Surrounding yourself with those who care about you and will support you during this time is essential. Be vigilant on how much you push yourself during the holidays as it is already a stressful time of year. It’s okay to say no and to respect your own boundaries.

Happy Holidays to all the parents anywhere on this parenthood journey! Stay strong out there and remember to lean on your village when you need!

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

How to Choose a Good Prenatal

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

How to Choose a Good Prenatal

This is one of the most common questions we get! It can be so overwhelming to dive into what seems like hundreds of brands. How do you know what to look for? How do you know what brands are trustworthy? Let’s dive in because the answer might surprise you!

What are you looking for?

Choline: This is one of the most important nutrients that pregnant people need, yet so many providers don’t share (or know?) that it is SO important! Many older docs don’t keep up with updated research and their patients pay the price! (This is a shameless plug for yet another reason to join The Birth Lounge so you have direct access to all updated research to make your own choices about your care + know what questions to discuss with your provider.) Choline is essential in brain and spinal cord development-- specifically the hippocampus which is involved in memory! Most pregnant women in the U.S. are not achieving choline intake recommendations of 450 mg/day. The yolk of eggs is very rich in choline! You can also get Choline from fish, nuts, & legumes! Be sure to get your daily Choline intake as a new Cornell University study suggests “When expectant mothers consume sufficient amounts of the nutrient choline during pregnancy, their offspring gain enduring cognitive benefits.

Folate or Folic Acid: This is a vitamin that helps support neural development and spine development. Sufficient amounts of it can prevent birth defects like anencephaly (baby is born without parts of their skull and brain--fatal) and spina bifida (parts of baby’s spine is exposed at birth--requires surgery). It is important to note the difference between the two. Folic Acid is synthetic (lab made) and is not the naturally occurring form of Folate. It’s very important to get adequate folate and to consume it everyday since your baby develops everyday. The CDC recommends every pregnant person consume 400 micrograms daily (there are a few risk factors to discuss with your provider to determine if you need an increased amount) and March of Dimes recommends 600mcg/day . You can get folate from food in broccoli, brussel sprouts, leafy greens, avocados, nuts/seeds, and eggs. Some fortified foods (confirm they are fortified with folic acid or folate) like cereals, breads, flours, and other processed grains can be a good source, too!

Iron: We know that iron levels are important in all humans--even outside of pregnancy. Iron is a mineral that helps prevent anemia and this is especially important in pregnancy. The risk of iron deficiency during pregnancy is extremely likely because as the baby grows, your blood volume changes and it becomes harder for your healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your whole body. Iron gives you energy and low iron levels can lead to an increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and postpartum depression. It is recommended to have 27mg per day while pregnant. 

Vitamin K2: Vitamin K is involved in a lot--your baby will received vitamin K after birth to control bleeding and you need it in pregnancy because it supports bone health and heart health (think blood clotting, too). It helps prepare your body to absorb and use calcium, which builds and maintains bones (so you and your baby need this vitamin). A good source of Vitamin K is fortified cereal, brown rice, and eggs! You can also eat lots of leafy greens like brussel sprouts, kale, and broccoli. Talk to your provider about the amount of Vitamin K you need in pregnancy based on your weight!

Magnesium: This is a magic mineral!! I use magnesium everyday and recommend people talk to their doctors about it, too! It has so many benefits in pregnancy like reducing your risk of preterm labor and pre-eclampsia! It also reduces anxiety and aids in better sleep! Magnesium helps regulate your body temperature and the formation of new tissue (maternal and fetal). 

Iodine: Iodine supports healthy brain development (low levels have been linked to lower language skills) and your daily requirement of iodine increases during pregnancy. The World Health Organization calls the increase ‘substantial’ and recommends everyone consume iodized salt. They even say to talk to your provider because even iodized salt may not be enough. A 2008 study shares that iodization actually does matter. A 2015 study negated this in saying that we should be very careful with suggesting every pregnant person substantially increase their iodine intake because excess iodine can also have detrimental impacts (as does too little). The CDC (and American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends every pregnant and breastfeeding person consume 150 micrograms daily. Talk to your provider to make sure you are getting the recommended amount from your diet + prenatal.

Selenium: This is an essential element to our thyroid’s function and, like so many other things, it decreases in pregnancy. It plays a role in fertility and selenium deficiencies can be the reason for miscarriages or even damaged nervous systems of newborns. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are getting the correct amount of selenium!

What are brands you can trust?

To be honest, it matters a lot because not all prenatals are equal! We aren’t so much worried about the brand you choose, rather looking at how much of each vitamin and mineral you are getting each day. Also, we want to make sure they don’t have a bunch of fillers and unnecessary ingredients. This is a great resource to see everything you may see in prenatals, why you need it, and how much you need of each. 

You’ll also want to consider your diet in this equation, but a lot vitamins and minerals require a large consumption of certain food groups (as in, more than what a typical person would eat) to get enough. My friend and Prenatal Nutritionist, Ryann Kipping (also the creator of The Prenatal Nutrition Library), says that her motto is always “Food first,” meaning try to get the majority of your daily vitamin/mineral consumption from the food you are eating before we turn to additional supplements.

What if you are taking a prenatal that has some of the crucial things, but not all?

Talk to your provider about supplementing! First, do some research on the amount of each vitamin and mineral you are supposed to have during pregnancy. Then, compare that to what is in your prenatal and journal what foods you eat each day for 14 days. Find the discrepancies and share that with your provider at your next doctor’s appointment so you can determine the best course of action to getting you the recommended intake of each essential vitamin and mineral needed for your baby’s development. 

You can supplement things like iron, magnesium, and folate! 

The Bottom Line

Choose a prenatal that feels most aligned with you and doesn’t make you feel icky! Don’t be afraid to test out various prenatals. If you think your prenatal is making you feel off/nauseas, please don’t continue to take them ‘because you have the whole bottle left.’ This is your body telling you that the current prenatal you’re taking isn’t a best fit for you. 

Find a shelf stable prenatal that is certified third-party tested so you can be sure all the ingredients are what they claim to be and safe for consumption (rather than fillers). When you choose your prenatal, do your own research on any vitamins or minerals you may need to supplement with then ask your provider about additional supplements! 

Ps. Always take your prenatal with food! Here’s one last really cool resource for you! 

Podcast Recs: True Crime + Women's Health

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Podcast Recs: True Crime + Women's Health

This isn’t going to be the typical blog that you find here! In true Halloween spirit last week, I asked our Instagram audience if they were into True Crime Podcast. This led to most folks saying “Duh!” and me digging deeper by asking who wanted to hear about my favorite podcasts that blended True Crime and women’s health?! The overwhelming majority said ‘hell yeah!’ So, here we are! 

Before we dive into these, I want to provide a brief trigger warning. These podcasts combine true crime with women’s health. Some readers & listeners may find the content traumatic. Fetal Abduction Podcast* may be especially triggering for anyone who is reading and pregnant. 

Sick Podcast 

This was my first introduction to an investigative podcast about women’s health (I am a long time listener of Crime Junkies). This podcast was the tiny hairline fracture I needed to fully break the dam and open my eyes to just how deep the deceit and corruption runs in women’s reproductive health. This podcast follows the story of Dr. Donald Cline who was a fertility doctor in Indiana. Cline used his own sperm throughout the 70’s and 80’s to father more than 50 children. He told patients that his ‘donors’ were medical residents and wished to remain anonymous. The podcast interviews a number of his children including footage about a face-to-face meeting where the children confronted Cline. Thanks to this story, there are laws being put through legislation in recent years to protect victims of heinous crimes like this and to make such acts illegal. (Surprisingly, there were no laws about this before…)

The Immaculate Deception

This podcast dives into a very similar story to Sick. This time we are in the Netherlands and following Jan Karbaat who was a very successful doctor at Rotterdam Clinic. In the 80’s, Dr. Karbaat took advantage of women in the most vulnerable situation—artificial insemination. Dr. Karbaat did not screen his donors, used his own sperm, and used the same donor hundreds of times. He made his clients sign a ‘secrecy contract’ and if they refused to sign, e refused to treat. Vile! Like Cline, his secrets were exposed by his own children —nicknamed ‘The Karbaat Kids’— and listeners are taken through a few of their lives. The podcast even interviews a patient of Dr. Karbaat’s and the emotions of navigating fertility issues before it was so widely known and then again years later when the news broke about the horrific scandal.There is currently a court case against him by his victims so some of the information can’t be shared with the public yet.

Fetal Abduction*: A True Crime Podcast

This is a true crime podcast. This was the most triggering for me—I think because it involves so much death. If you are pregnant, I caution you to listen to this if you are susceptible to recurring thoughts or anxious feelings after reading stories involving pregnancy. This is a true crime about pregnancy. If you don’t know what a fetal abduction is—it’s the monstrous act of cutting a baby from the womb of it’s parent. This podcast follows the history of fetal abductions in America. The podcast shares that the first known case happened in the 70’s and is incredibly rare. This one is insanely psychological—the host dives into the minds of the evil people who commit these crimes. 

Up Next on My List? Verified: Dust Up 

This podcast looks so good! I’m excited to dive in! It dives into the allegations that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder causes ovarian cancer. It follows a group of women diagnosed with cancer and the lengths the nationally known brand goes to convince consumers that the product is safe and should still be a trusted household name. Apparently they are demeaning of the scientists who are speaking out against this. I always say if someone has to belittle you to prove they are right, they’re probably hiding something! I’ll report back! 

Okay, that got heavy, but they are such good podcasts…if true crime and women’s health is your thing. If you’re here for pregnancy tips, let me share this 45-minute free masterclass. I share my top 4 things birthing people need to know going into labor! Enjoy!

Failed Inductions: What You Need to Know

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Failed Inductions: What You Need to Know

When we talk about inductions, we often speak of them like they are 100% guaranteeing us a baby at the end. While this is true most of the time, you’d probably be surprised to learn that indcutins can fail and you may be sent home to wait it out a bit longer. Or, if the option isn’t presented to you, you can ask or take yourself home. It is important to ensure that you and your baby are safe to go home.There are thousands of women each year that experience a failed induction and it can be very hard emotionally. 

What is a failed induction?

A failed induction is the inability to reach active labor while being induced.

There is a certain process we want to take when it comes to induction. I call this your ‘individual induction equation.’ It’s truly individual to you and you get to introduce various induction methods as you see fit which makes your equation unique to you. First we want to ripen the cervix--it needs to be soft. You have options of how we achieve this. Then we need to begin dilation. Many times in undisturbed, unmedicated (no narcotic use or induction) labor, the first few centimeters are accomplished with little or no pain. Many times birthing people will unknowingly walk around a few centimeters dilated in late pregnancy--this is completely normal! You’re that much closer to your goal and didn’t have to work for it! That’s amazing!

If your cervix is effaced and not dilating at all, it’s possible you aren’t ready to have a baby. If you choose to keep going, the next step is to get contractions going. You have a few choices of how you can do this! You can try walking and physical movement. You can try natural oxytocin like nipple stimulation, intimacy with your partner or visualization. You can also try pitocin which is artificial oxytocin. Your body metabolizes it differently so it will impact your contractions. Finally you can break your waters. This is an especially important decision for birthing people who are GBS+ as you will no longer have the option to leave because you will need to begin receiving antibiotics. You can also choose (GBS+ or GBS-) to save this for later in labor plus it allows you to return home.

When using Pitocin, be very mindful of how much you are using, for how long and how your body is reacting. Pitocin is a drug that needs to be used with respect (25% of people who receive Pitocin will have a c-section). If your body is truly not ready to birth a baby, you may find yourself experiencing a failed induction. You want to be educated on a reasonable amount of time to try to induce before you call it and say, “we’ll try again later because my body is clearly not ready.” There is evidence to support the idea that the longer it takes a laboring person to reach 6cm, the less likely they are to have a vaginal delivery. If your body is not responding to medical induction (and you + your baby are safe), instead of forcing it, you could consider going home and giving your body more time. Also, your baby would probably appreciate the extra time, too! That same study also shares that women who were in the latent phase and receiving pitocin for 12 hours still were able to achieve a vaginal delivery meaning we should not call it ‘failure to progress’ before at least 12 hours of pitocin.

TIP: Failure to progress is defined as 6 hours with no cervical change after 6cm. Failure to progress cannot be deemed before 6cm. It is also evidence based to expect a “pause” in labor around the 6cm mark for women who have very long labors. We should be patient as their bodies are typically just resting for active labor and pushing. Evidence Based Birth says, “if more care providers begin using evidence-based definitions of labor arrest and failed induction, we will begin to see fewer of these diagnoses, and a simultaneous, safe lowering of the Cesarean rate.”

A few reasons your induction may fail:

Your baby is not ready. Check out the science on what actually initiates the start of labor (if you were not induced). It will probably be surprising to you! It has quite a lot to do with your baby! Inductions increase your risk of further interventions, including c-section, and this is called ‘the cascade of interventions.’ As c-sections rise, so does infant mortality and NICU stays for respiratory distress since babies were born before spontaneous labor started. Obviously there are tons of evidence reasons to wait for your labor to start on it’s own and one of the most important is your baby’s lung development!

You were induced with a low Bishop Score. You can see here that it is flawed, but also the best tool we have at the moment to predict your chance of a successful induction. Read more about the Bishop Score here!

If you are wondering if a 39-week induction is for you, here is a breakdown of what you need to know about The ARRIVE Trial. If you doctor mentioned this to you, make sure you read this breakdown so you understand why it may not be applicable to you!

The Bottom Line

Be mentally and emotionally prepared when you go for an induction that it is not guaranteed to work! You can have a ‘failed induction’ and I highly suggest you listen to your body and baby on this one. Remember, your baby’s development is very much a driving force of labor starting! There are also things you can do to check your chances of having a successful induction like knowing your bishop score and having a plan of when to call off a failed induction.

If you want to learn more about your birth choices or how to advocate for your birth goals, join The Birth Lounge!

The Arrive Study

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Arrive Study

I get asked A LOT about The ARRIVE Study. It’s a hot topic. For some people they are thrilled to hear there is science backing up an induction and some folks are terrified because they feel pressure from their provider and don’t feel aligned with a 39-week induction. Before we dive into the issues with this study. Let’s take a look at the history that you should know. 

Around 41% of all pregnant people will have an induction suggested to them and 44% of those will be because you’re close to your due date or ‘full term.’ (quotations because we think one absolute date determines a baby’s readiness to be born and that’s simply not how it works) This means almost half of all labors are suggested to be medically initiated….where has our trust in ourselves gone?! 

Let’s take a quick pause for one moment and think about birth for what it actually is--a natural event. Without human intervention, there would be so much less birth trauma, so many less c-sections, far fewer inductions, and our trust in our bodies (and in nature) would be restored. Pregnancy is not an illness. Birth is not a medical event (90% of the time with a healthy respect for the 10% cases who truly require medical support and intervention). You are doing a very natural thing that billions of women have done before you for millenniums before you. Truly, take a moment to think about that. Millenniums. 

There are a few things to know when discussing The ARRIVE Study with your provider!

Number 1: The ARRIVE study set out to prove something and it did just that. That shouldn’t be a surprise. That’s exactly what experiments and science are supposed to do. But don’t stop there. Challenge it. Look into it. Ask questions. Make sure it is applicable to YOU and YOUR birth goals. 

My thoughts: That is true with all research. Listen, research is funded--you can’t hold that against them. However, you can (and should!) look into the funding of research and look into how the study might have shown bias in any way. Again, it doesn’t make it bad science or a bad study necessarily, but it does make it something you want to know just to keep in the front of your mind. 

Number 2: There are some pretty big holes in this study like the criteria you need to meet to yield these same results for yourself is pretty strict—people who feel strongly about a low intervention birth, people who have care by a provider with a high c-section rate, and people who do not feel like induction is aligned with their birth goals are all not recommended to use this approach. This can be seen in their recruiting—22,533 women were invited to participate and only 6,106 did.

My thoughts: Yikes! That’s a huge number of folks who said, ‘no thanks!’ I believe this is because you are hard pressed to find birthing people who don’t have preferences on how their labor begins, how long their pregnancy goes, or the outcome of their labor. That’s a very specific type of birthing person to not have preferences on all of that. Therefore, if you do care about one of these, these results might not be applicable to you.

Number 3: There was a slight decrease (3%) for 39-week inductions compared to spontaneous labor. We must balance someone’s birth goals with such a small decrease. Lastly, the researchers did not specify an induction protocol so all of these inductions were done in whatever way each provider felt was best. That’s a lot of variability to try and generalize to every birthing person.

My thoughts: For so many birthing people, when they consider the small decrease and the idea of benign induced, they just don’t line up. Most folks would rather take on the 3% risk for the chance to go into labor naturally. Since we don’t have a single method for induction, this is going to be highly dependent on your provider--what their preferred method is, their c-section rate, their comfortability using varied methods--and your education and preferences--do you know about balloons and cervical ripeners. What standard protocol for pitocin is and what your alternatives are for that? The more educated you are on your options, the less risk you have for a c-section.

Number 4: Many providers aren’t actually presenting it as an option--rather the recommended route. In addition, most providers are not taking into account or having intentional, informed discussions about the three criteria The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology set’s forth: the values and preferences of the pregnant woman, the resources available (including personnel), and the setting in which the intervention will be implemented. In addition they also state, “A collaborative discussion with shared-decision making should take place with the pregnant woman.” This is direct instruction to offer it as an option, discuss risks and benefits, and share about the criteria to determine if the patient is a good fit. Finally, another issue with the way providers proceed with The ARRIVE Study is that many providers take into account the Bishop Score. While it’s not the best scoring system, it’s at least helpful data! Read more about the Bishop Score here!

My thoughts: I’ve actually never seen a provider do a bishop score as part of this. While it’s not recommended by ACOG or included in the criteria, it makes logical sense to see what someone’s cervix is up to before we induce them.This would be a fantastic place for providers to think outside the box in order to give easy, individualized care that truly makes a big difference in patient satisfaction and, possibly, outcome---just imagine if we stopped inducing people without checking their cervix first. A simple conversation with the patient about what the bishop score is, what it tells us, and why it may be helpful to evaluate before moving forward with the ARRIVE trial findings would probably be a game changer in so many lives. 

What about a failed induction?

Did you know you can leave and go home after a failed induction? It’s true, you can. If you and your baby are safe, and you have not made any decisions that require continuous monitoring, you have the option to go home. (You always have the option to go home, but that obviously wouldn’t be advised if you or your baby weren’t safe.)  Read more about failed inductions, here.

It’s also important to know that ACOG recommends “if the maternal and fetal status allow, cesarean births for failed induction of labor in the latent phase can be avoided by allowing longer durations of the latent phase (up to 24 hours or longer) and requiring that oxytocin be administered for at least 12–18 hours after membrane rupture before deeming the induction a failure.”

The Bottom Line

We are not treating pregnancy as a healthy medical event, rather something that is uncontrollable and dangerous. We aren’t providing birthing people with individualized care, rather blanket statements that leave them with emotional and physical scars. 

Evidence Based Birth says “Current research evidence has found that elective induction at 39 weeks does not make a difference in the rate of death or serious complications for babies. For mothers, induction at 39-weeks was linked to a small decrease in the rate of Cesarean compared to those assigned to wait for labor (19% Cesarean rate versus 22%)” 

It’s ultimately up to you! You know your baby and your body! You are the most qualified person to make this call!

If you want to learn more about your birth choices or how to advocate for your birth goals, join The Birth Lounge!

The Bishop Score

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Bishop Score

Have you ever heard of a Bishop Score? This is the ‘rating’ that we give a pregnant person’s cervix in order to determine its readiness for induction. There are a few key flaws in this scoring system and I want to chat it out! 

The History of The Bishop Score

The original Bishop score (Developed by Dr. Bishop, OBGYN in 1964) is based on 5 criteria: dilation, effacement, station of baby, position of cervix, consistency of cervix. You will be given a score of 0 to 3--0 being not progressed and 3 being the cervix is showing favorable progress-- for each of these criteria(Note: the highest score for position and consistency of cervix is 2). You will be given an overall Bishop Score which will indicate if you are a good candidate for induction or if you are not. The highest score is 13 and any score 9 or above is considered ‘favorable’ for induction meaning the numbers suggest your body will be receptive of induction. (Note: some providers will use 8 and this will be up to you as to what number you feel most comfortable)¹. You can see a Bishop Score card here! 

However, this 2012 study used a ‘Simplified Bishop Score’ that only considered dilation, effacement, and baby’s station. It showed a similarly high predictive rate to the original bishop score. This means if you are favorable in those three out of five, you may be a great candidate for a 39-week induction (if it aligns with your birth goals). 

The Problems with The Bishop Score

Interestingly enough, it is not a great tool for people who have had a baby before. Since your body has already done this a time or two, your cervix can change on a dime. Anyone’s cervix can rapidly change (which is why this is flawed to begin with), but a person who has already given birth is more likely to have faster cervical change making the Bishop score less reliable for second and third (and beyond) time mothers.²

One final problem is--and I eluded to it above--but providers are not consistent in their expectations or usage of the Bishop Score. Some use 8, some use 9 as an indicator of a ‘favorable’ cervix. Some use a 8 or 9 until they realize that the patient isn’t achieving that score then they throw in a ‘well, by the simplified bishop score you meet criteria’ which is equally confusing and infuriating. Many women leave feeling confused if they are a good candidate and infuriated with a provider that was not clear on such a big decision. 

Here’s the thing: it is a flawed tool, but it is the best we have at the moment.³ It does a pretty good job of indicating your body’s receptivity to a medical induction. This is definitely a tool to be aware of and to know your personal boundaries of what you consider a good number to induce your body. Remember consent is a discussion with your provider--make sure that is being done around the topic of induction especially. 

What you need to know as a consumer?

First and foremost you should understand the reasons for medically necessary indcutions. As a consumer, you have a responsibility to take control of your birth experience and this includes being an informed consumer. You need to know the evidence behind bogus reasons for inductions like ‘big babies,’ ‘advanced maternal age,’ or ‘late babies.’ You also need to understand how to navigate sticky places like Gestational Diabetes. It doesn’t always mean you have to be induced or that you’re doomed for a ginormous baby that’s going to rip you to shreds. (Note: Sometimes, GD does require an induction to keep parent and baby safe) Those are fear-based approaches and I hope dearly your provider isn’t trying to pull this with you. Here is a list of medically necessary reasons to consider being induced.

This is a good study to be aware of! It is older (2006) and shares that if you have a positive Bishop score, and use a specific method of induction (This is really nice to know exactly what protocol to follow--unlike The ARRIVE Study!) This study had 99 participants, 47 first time moms, 52 moms who had given birth before (did not decipher second, third, etc). The median time of labor time for first time moms was 15.5 hours and for those who have given birth before, median labor time was 12.5 hours. 20/47 first time moms got an epidural and 11/52 moms who had birthed before got one with 83 vaginal births. They had 16 total c-sections with 8 due to fetal distress (funky fetal heart tones). There were also 8 first time parents and 8 parents who had birthed before. 45% of participants were in labor after only one Misoprostol and 45% were in labor after two doses. This left 9 participants whom seven need 3 doses and two needed 4 doses. 11 newborns required a NICU stay.⁴

If you are facing pressure from your provider about The ARRIVE Study (a study that shares a 39-week induction may lower your risk of a c-section). You can read more about that study and how to understand whether it applies to you and your birth goals, here.

If you have a failed induction, you are allowed to leave the hospital. We will be covering this SOON!

If being induced is not aligned with your birth goals and you have a preference to wait or to wait for labor to initiate unassisted, then that is absolutely your right. You can read all about due dates here and how your due date is a guess! Science is on your side if you decide waiting is best for you! 

If you want to learn more about your birth choices or how to advocate for your birth goals, join The Birth Lounge


Social Call with a Newborn?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Let’s be honest - there’s nothing quite like the excitement of brand new baby rolling into town. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or neighbor who has added a new tiny human to their home, you may be waiting on the edge of your seat to meet the new babe. Before you go running to get your share of baby snuggles, there are a few unspoken rules you should keep in mind when it comes to visiting a newborn and we’re going to break those down for you today.
  • - First of all - when exactly is it okay to come knocking on their door? Ask when it would be a convenient time for them and never come over unannounced. 
  • - Definitely come with a practical gift in tow - you can never go wrong with food for a busy new family! Maybe pick up some fruit or something else fresh as they’re probably relying on the freezer for most of their meals.
  • - Always lend a helping hand during your visit. Offer to take care of those dishes in the sink or throw in a load of laundry or even just to wipe down the counters - it will be much appreciated! Consider some one-handed snacks for mama!
  • - Don’t take pictures of the baby or post them on social media unless you get permission from the parents. They may not have had a chance to share pictures themselves or just may not be comfortable with having their baby’s face on the internet, and that’s okay!
  • - Don’t push the new mama to talk about her birth experience. She may have had a traumatic experience that she’s not ready to talk about yet, and hormones and exhaustion can make talking about the birth even more upsetting. However, if she does want to talk, be prepared to be a great listener!
  • - If there’s an older sibling around, make sure to give them some love too! All the attention on a newborn can be upsetting to the new big brother or sister and they’ll really appreciate a bit of the spotlight on them. 
  • - Most importantly, do NOT step foot near that house if you are sick or have been recently! Newborns are so susceptible to bugs and the last thing the tired family needs is a sick baby! Even if you’re not sick at the moment, make sure to wash your hands often during your visit, and although it’s hard, avoid giving baby kisses! On this note, leave your kids at home - the presence of more children in the house can be overwhelming for the new parents, not to mention all the germs that come along with them.
  • - Finally, don’t overstay your welcome - the new family is exhausted and is probably trying to stick to whatever bit of a routine they manage to put together. Keep the visit short and sweet while reminding the new parents that you’re only a phone call away if they’re ever in need. 
These are our general guidelines for newborn visits.  But if you are reading this in the present- 2020 has thrown us some whoppers.  We urge you to be especially cautious around newborn babies and their families.  Please respect boundaries if families are not welcoming to visitors at this time.  In these unprecedented times parents are left making choices their parents, grandparents- heck even most of their friends have not had to make with a newborn baby.  Give new parents grace! Ask them how you can support them right now. Ask them how they are doing. 

Some ideas for socially distant support in 2020:
  • - Porch or door front meal drop offs/meal trains that encourage parents to leave a cooler outside or with a defined drop off time from parents where they know they can easily get to the door and get food inside. 
  • - Gift cards to a local restaurant or delivery app for easy food/coffee/meal delivery. (Hello! A $5 Starbucks gift card sent in app MADE MY DAY Postpartum - it doesn't need to be big! Just thoughtful and practical.)
  • - Sending or dropping off older siblings craft kits, activity boxes, etc. that show them a little love and may give mom and dad a break to relax
  • - Offering to pick up groceries if the family is avoiding shopping trips/just because!
  • - Checking in! It can seem so small, but loneliness amongst postpartum parents is high generally speaking, never mind right now when isolation is more of the norm. Send a sweet text, a voice message, a funny video- let mom/dad know you are on their mind and there if they need something!
If a family is willing to have you in their home or at their home, please make sure to respect their comfort levels. This may mean a visit outside, with masks, or other extra precautions that bring them peace of mind.  Remember, this is not personal or about you, it is just a new family trying to make sense of the world their baby has entered and keep them as safe as they can!

Mama-to-be? Check out our blog post on why you may want to say 'no' to your visitors, here!

Respecting the Golden Hour

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Respecting the Golden Hour

The time immediately following your birth is crucial to the well being of our child. Research says that respecting what is called “The golden Hour” can help give your child the best possible start. If it is possible, requesting that your medical staff and birth team respect this time can help your baby adjust to life on the outside before they are poked and prodded with newborn tests and passed from person to person for birth stats. 

The way in which the golden hour mentality is carried out varies from culture to culture. In some cultures an extended golden hour called “lying in” is a practice in which women are waited upon and only allowed to do minimal tasks such as getting up to use the bathroom, but not to shower. It is said to be supportive of postpartum healing and mother-child attachment. However, in some cultures, parents aren’t afforded any paid time off of work to recover from birth and bond with their baby. 

Visitors are no exception to the rule. It varies widely from culture to culture and family to family. Some parents choose not to have visitors for at least a few days after the birth and some parents prefer to be surrounded by family and friends immediately following. Whatever your preference, respecting The Golden Hour can be done in a quiet, intimate room or a room that looks like a birth after-party! 

What’s the Golden Hour?

This typically refers to the first 60 minutes of your child’s life. This hour will feel like a lot of emotions and physical feelings and, sometimes, feels a little blurry looking back. This is all the more reason to take the first 60 minutes after your birth to do nothing but let your medical team repair you, hold your baby, relish in the fact that you did it, and just soak up this magical moment. Your baby will be so delicate. The first hour of life can be reserved as a gentle and tender time to help your baby transition. 

What to say to visitors?

The Truth: You can always be straight forward and let them know they you are excited to share your baby, but you’ve made a decision to delay visitors until [when] except for [who] because [why]. Most people will understand. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground if something is important to you. 

My Midwife/Doctor Said No: ie. for the people who didn’t understand above reason. You can always blame your provider. Even your doula might agree to be the blame. Your birth team will understand why it is so important. 

What’s the low down?

Consider requesting delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin contact. This can help keep the environment as calm and comforting to your baby as possible. Delayed cord clamping has several benefits and allows your baby to remain supported while learning to breathe on the outside. Your body will adjust its’ temperature to be whatever your baby needs so you’re a natural heat lamp for your baby. There is research suggesting an uninterrupted golden hour for low-birth weight infants to help support their temperature and their blood pressure. Babies generally make attempts to breastfeed within the first hour of life. Allowing them this uninterrupted time to explore and figure out the breast can be crucial to breastfeeding. Your baby is born knowing how to do what is called “The Breast Crawl” and is able to get their way from your belly (when placed there after birth) to your breast on their own. It is incredible to watch. You can watch it for yourself here (It takes a minute, not a process you want to rush). 

Laying your baby on your chest has benefits for you such as pain relief. Skin to skin with your baby will elicit certain chemicals to release in your brain and they will help deliver your placenta, but also block pain receptors. Your baby can benefit too because your body and breast will have germs that “initiate” your baby, if you will. These are germs that your baby needs to help build their immunity and letting them just lay on your chest for an undisturbed hour will give them so much exposure to your healthy bacteria. (Chapter 2, part 2 of this book does a great job explaining this. Disclaimer: this book was published by InTechOpen which has some controversial funders. You can take a look and make your own decision if you want to seek out other sources for yourself here.)

Don’t Feel Bad 

If you feel strongly that you want to ask visitors to wait a certain period of time, then you have every right to do so. If you know that people holding and kissing and snuggling your baby will make you anxious, then it’s worth considering. Please know science has your back on this one! You can see our blog about asking visitors to wait here! If you feel it will be lonely without your parents and siblings and partner’s family, then do just that! Whatever you choose should be what makes you most comfortable and what makes sense to you. 

At the end of the day, you don’t get to do this birth over. Being able to request things that are important to you and have those decisions respected and honored by those around you is essential in making this a spectacular memory. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. 

What *actually* starts labor?

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Can We Predict the Start of Labor?

People (me included) say all the time, “Babies come on their own time.” And, this is true, they do. But, they don’t just randomly choose a day. It isn’t luck of the draw or even chance. So if there is something more to it, what *actually* starts labor? Let’s dive a bit deeper!

I know you’ve heard this before if you are not new around here, but your baby’s body and your body literally work together to start labor. They have been working together this whole time during pregnancy and will continue to work throughout birth and as long as you breastfeed. My mama would argue she can still feel when something is off from me (I live in Boston and she’s in Mississippi!) Your mama instinct is so strong. There are so many birthing people who say they feel like an induction isn’t the right choice for them and there’s research to show that you might be right! 

*You’re going to notice that some of these articles seem old. They are old because this isn’t new. This is something we are well aware of in the birth world. 

So, What Starts Labor?

Your baby’s lungs! That’s right, when your baby is ready to be born, their lungs will actually produce a hormone that mixes with your amniotic which triggers labor. “During the last part of your pregnancy, your baby's lungs mature and he or she puts on a protective layer of fat, taking on the characteristic chubbiness of a newborn. Researchers now believe that when a baby is ready for life outside his mother's uterus, his body releases a tiny amount of a substance that signals the mother's hormones to begin labor (Condon, Jeyasuria, Faust, & Mendelson, 2004). In most cases, your labor will begin only when both your body and your baby are ready.”

It’s also super important to remember that in late pregnancy your body is doing tons of work that is unseen. I’m not talking about dilation or effacement--things we can measure. I’m talking about things we can’t/don’t measure for like hormonal changes, the dropping of your baby, or the positioning of your baby’s head (more than facing forward or facing backward). There are so many things that your body does, like your hips and pelvis slowly opening up (an additional 30% in late pregnancy and throughout labor!) to make more space for baby and your breasts beginning to make and store colostrum! Your baby’s hormones will be speaking to your hormones and that will tell your body what to do. “The fetal hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis plays a fundamental role in stimulating increased estrogen production in late gestation. Estrogen then activates maternal circadian rhythms that increase oxytocin secretion. As a result, uterine contraction patterns are switched from contractures to contractions.” (Nathanielsz, 1998) There’s plenty of research out there sharing the importance of your baby’s development in birth and some researchers suggest that answering critical questions about the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis can be key to reducing the number of preterm births and decrease the number of NICU stays (Wood and Wood, 2016). 

As your baby begins to produce these hormones, your body will begin to respond by prepping itself. This, for many pregnant people, looks like walking around a few centimeters dilated or effaced a bit! Your body is designed to be on the lookout for these signals from your baby! “Oxytocin receptors are probably crucial for the onset of human labor, and the stimulus for the increase in uterine prostaglandins may be oxytocin originating from the fetus.” (Fuchs, Fuchs, Husslein, Soloff, Fernstrom, 1982)

Remember, your baby is a separate being from you, but still dependent on you! They work together, but we shouldn’t force your body to try to control your baby.

So, What about Past Due Babies?

Don’t worry! Nature has that figured out too! We have to keep in mind that birth is a natural event--NOT a medical event. If you think about birth, humans are the only ones who trust other folks to birth their baby, birth in a medical environment, have tons of interventions and procedures “just in case”....If we step back and give nature the space to unfold as it’s intended to do, we can usually trust things to go right. 

So, if your baby isn’t here on your due date (uh hmmm, please remember that first time babies are usually born 40+5 to 41+2), there’s some research to take a look at before making your next move! “They found that changes in telomeres, part of our DNA that responds to aging, become present in the amniotic fluid as the placenta and other pregnancy tissues get older (source). These cells could be telling the baby that it's time to be born. "What made us suspect this signal is that we have always believed that labor can be triggered by the baby,"says lead author Ramkumar Menon, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and co-author George R. Saade, M.D., a professor and chief of Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine.”

So while babies will ‘come on their own time,’ they are actually still developing up until that point. We want to make sure we are balancing having a healthy respect for your baby’s growth and development when we talk about due dates and inductions! You can see more information on how your risk of c-section increases if your birth is augmented by way of induction here

The science is very clear what starts labor and that IS the baby’s body communicating to the gestational parent’s body via hormones and secretions that increase oxytocin and estrogen in the parent that then stimulates contractions. 

You can grab a free download to help master your mindset at the end of pregnancy! It can be so hard to patiently await your little one! I hear that 100%, but I also want to remind you to leave a healthy amount of space for your baby to work their magic as they are designed to do! If you want to learn more information to help you have an informed and confident birth, join our waitlist to be the first to know when The Birth Lounge opens again!

Ps. If you want a good birth story and one that empowers you to wait to trust in your baby, read this one

Feeling snotty? There's a reason!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Mucus Production & Pregnancy

Doesn't sound awesome, but doesn't sound too bad, does it?

You're probably thinking a runny nose and you're not too gar off, but it can also look like ear infections and sinus infections. During pregnancy, your hormones rage (duh!), but the specific surges in estrogen does helpful things like increasing blood supply to your vaginal area and creating your mucus plug.

Since you're pregnant, you can't take most medications. Even if you could, many people choose to limit medication consumption during pregnancy and nursing. So what are you to do? Just be a walking snot factory for 9+ months? No, not at all. Like everything else, you have some choice here on your approaches.

Here are a few remedies to clear mucus:
- Drinking lots of water
- Adding electrolytes to your water
- Eating garlic + onions
- Cutting down (consider eliminating) dairy
- Netti pot
- Drinking hot liquids
Turmeric health shot
- Eating soup
- Rest, rest, rest
- Acupuncture

You may also experience ear infections. Here are some remedies:
- Check in with your doctor (you may require an office visit)
- Mullein Garlic (purchased at whole foods, ear drops)
- Eating garlic + onions
- Avoid dairy
- Turmeric health shot
- Netti pot
- Hydrate!!!

A neat trick that I learned recently from a nurse was to bend over and put your head below your heart. If the stuffiness drains and the throbbing stops, it is due to pregnancy. If it doesn't drain and the throbbing doesn't stop (or gets worse) it's most likely stopped up and could be a possible ear infection. *This in no way constitutes medical advice, diagnosis, or a cure and should not be taken as such*

If you get a fever, no matter how tiny, check in with your healthcare provider. Be sure to avoid colloidal silver as it is bit safe for pregnant or nursing people.

Pregnancy changes everything in your body...and I mean everything. Right down to your sinuses, your baby is already controlling you in every sense. Now that you know you have a reason to nap and decline Friday night's invite to supper club, do it. Take advantage of growing this tiny human. Take the time to honor the messages your body is sending you (rest, hydration, and slowing down).

You only get to experience this pregnancy once. Stop and enjoy it.

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook group and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe or @the.birth.lounge!

Heartburn in Pregnancy

Wednesday, September 9, 2020


Heartburn in Pregnancy

Why does it happen?

Heartburn is incredibly common and will plague between 17%-45% of pregnant people (Vazquez JC. Heartburn in pregnancy. BMJ Clin Evid. 2015;2015:1411. Published 2015 Sep 8.).

This happen because of two hormones: progesterone and relaxin. They are responsible for relaxing the muscles in your body during pregnancy to allow for growth and stretching in order to accommodate your baby. This causes your esophagus and the sphincter that keeps it closed to relax as well. Also, as your baby grows your “real estate” gets smaller and smaller.

With this change, your stomach gets squished which forces stomach acid back up into your esophagus. Not pleasant, but there are ways to combat this physical change and discomfort!

First, what not to do!

  • Do not stop eating. Your baby needs to be nourished. Not eating will actually increase your stomach acid making your heartburn worse.

  • Do not munch on antacids (TUMS, Rolaids) like candy as this has been linked to calcification of the placenta*. This means your placenta will begin to develop these very hard, rocklike spots and obviously this is not healthy for your baby. Also too much calcium can block iron absorption so be mindful of that. Many actiacids use aluminum as an active ingredient such as aluminum hydroxide or aluminum carbonate and should be avoided in pregnancy. Antiacids can cause constipation and due to the high sodium bicarbonate in some formulas, it can elevate your blood pressure which is not great for anyone at risk for preeclampsia.

What to do? (Please check with your provider before using/adopting these remedies): 

  • Begin with eating smaller meals. I recommend also snacking every hour with just a handful of something light, but filling like almonds, popcorn, 3-5 crackers, a handful of grapes or blueberries, a bowl of strawberries or watermelon, a hard-boiled egg, etc. Eating smaller meals will benefit you in several ways: it will allow your belly to digest before adding more since the space is limited, it will provide you and your baby consistent fuel (and energy), and it will support stable blood sugar. Along with eating small meals is eating slow. Do not scarf down your dinner in 10 minutes flat and be shocked that your heartburn is out of control. Your tummy just can’t digest that amount of food consumed in a matter of minutes at once anymore.

  • Drink a glass of milk. Milk can coat the inside of your stomach and help dilute the stomach aid. Yogurt can do the same thing for you! You can also try a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar, eating ginger or sipping ginger tea, a spoonful of honey or chamomile tea with honey.

  • Papaya Enzymes. Caution here because papaya FRUIT (vs. the extracted enzyme) is contraindicated as a possible cause of pre-term labor. The caveat here is that it’s UNRIPE papaya fruit but since you don’t ever really know the ripeness of fruit you purchase in the store, it’s best to stay away altogether (unripe papaya has also been linked to miscarriage in a few studies when consumed in the first trimester).

  • - Orange Peel Extract: I have never heard of this and have never recommended this, but this is a very interesting article and the sources are provided at the bottom. 

  • Stay hydrated. Rather than downing a glass of water once an hour, it’s better to consume liquids consistently throughout the day. The recommended amount of water for an average pregnancy and average sized female is 8-10 cups (equal to 65-80 ounces or 2-2.4 liters).

  • Avoid laying down after eating. You should not lie down for at least 45-60 minuets after eating. This is most difficult after dinner so I say find an activity that requires you to be upright—either standing or sitting. If you lie down too soon, the stomach acid that is working to digest the food in your stomach will slip right up and you might even feel nauseas or find yourself throwing up.

  • Avoid eating right before bed. I always say if you can eat 2 hours before bed, then that’s enough, but some doctors would say you shouldn’t eat anymore than 3 hours before bed. I believe this truly depends on your body and only you will know what that time is for you. However, try not to eat super hearty meals before bed because this will have your stomach working in overdrive. If you need to eat right before bed (trust me, I feel you), I recommend something water based like grapes, watermelon, or celery. These are easy things to digest, but be mindful that the sugar from the grapes and watermelon may spike your blood sugar or make your baby have a dance party.

  • Sleep Elevated. You can achieve this several ways. You can purchase a wedge pillow or you can stuff rolled up towels (or a yoga mat) under the top of your mattress to create an angle at your head. This will prevent stomach acid from going back into your esophagus while you’re lying flat.

  • Chew sugarless gum after eating dinner (or any large meal). This is a very interesting one, but it works similarly to giving a baby with acid reflux (or just really bad spit up) a pacifier after feeding them (before burping) to keep them sucking. This continuous sucking, despite not eating, keeps their gastrointestinal system activated which keeps them digesting longer and we generally see a decrease in spit up. Same with adults, but our gastrointestinal system is activated by chewing since we are not infants anymore. The chewing gum will keep your stomach activated. The increased saliva might also help to neutralize the stomach acid.

  • Speak with your doctor. They may suggest a H2 blocker like Tagamet or Zantac. Be mindful that long term use of these have been linked to pH unbalance in your stomach and gut.


  • - This is a condition where the placenta begins to harden (calcify) in specific spots. These spots are indicators of the “age” or “ efficiency” fo the placenta meaning the more calcification the “older” and less efficient your placenta is considered to be. 

  • - This is a great informational article but provides no evidence-based citations or any real sources. 

  • - It’s not regulated by the FDA nor has it been evaluated by any formal study that it is safe to consume daily TUMS during pregnancy. 

  • - The Placenta is in charge of filtering all calcium that crosses the blood-brain barrier. If there is too much, your placenta will actually hold the extra calcium —causing calcification of the placenta. Calcification of the placenta has been associated with pre-term labor. TUMS should never be taken at the same time as prenatal vitamins due to a possible adverse interaction between the two. 

  • - Calcium Carbonate is the active ingredient in antacids and too much calcium has been shown to block iron absorption. Iron is extremely important in pregnancy. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues. During pregnancy, you need up to double the “normal” recommended dose to increase the red blood cells to in-turn increase the oxygen levels reaching your baby. 

  • - There are a few studies that show (one of these is as a journal of veterinarian medicine—not too far off as we generally test on rats, pigs, or rabbits for pregnancy related research) an almost toxic level of calcium in fetal blood compared to mothers. Read more about these studies  here or here.

  • - Another product similar to TUMS, called Tame the Flame, is provided by Healthy Mama. 

  • - It is possible that magnesium or Vitamin D can help offset the potential “overdose” of calcium.

Calcium During Pregnancy:

Remember: It is not our job to tell clients what they should and shouldn’t take during pregnancy. Our responsibility is to share with them the potential risks, the sources we have available, and alternatives choices they have as options to consider.

If you are looking for more resources and support surrounding diet and nutrition in pregnancy - join us in The Birth Lounge to have an informed pregnancy and confident birth experience!

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