Hiring A Midwife For Your Birth – 4 Top Benefits

When you first conceive your baby, it might dawn you’re about to start making some of the most important choices in your life. 

Such as who will care for you as your pregnancy progresses and who will support you when you give birth. Should you think about hiring a midwife or an obstetrician? 

This choice will have a huge impact on how your birth will unfold, your recovery afterwards, and your transition to parenthood. 

You probably assume you’ll give birth in a hospital, but a small percentage of women also choose to give birth at home. This number is growing during the Covid-19 pandemic, as more women find their birth options being impacted by health restrictions.

Either way, hiring a midwife as your care provider has a whole host of benefits.

So let’s look at the benefits of hiring a midwife and if this is something you should consider.

A quick note:

In Australia, the vast majority of women receive maternity care through a private or public hospital, which the Australian College of Midwives calls a fragmented system. What this means is you will see a number of different doctors and midwives during your pregnancy and when it’s time to give birth. 

Midwifery continuity of care provides the best model of care for women and babies. This is care from the same midwife or team of midwives during the pregnancy, birth and postnatal time. 

Some public hospitals have group midwifery programs but they book out very quickly. Some private midwives have hospital visiting rights so can work in a hospital but are hired directly by you. Or you look at hiring a private midwife to attend you at a home birth. 

Hopefully, the following benefits of hiring a midwife will encourage you to explore this option for yourself. The greater demand for these services, the more they will become available to other women in the future. 

#1: It’s all about you 

A key feature of having a midwife is the woman centred care they provide. Your midwife gives you her full attention, throughout pregnancy, during labour, and after in the postnatal period. 

Midwives are ‘with woman’ so the basis of their care is individualised and holistic, caring for a woman as a whole. 

Midwives care about your physical health, but also your emotional wellbeing too, not just in pregnancy but also after giving birth. They build a relationship based on trust that encompasses your wishes and the dynamics of your family. 

During labour, your midwives create a space where you are free to birth on your terms, while leaning on their support and guidance as needed. 

#2: Have a normal birth 

It’s actually a fact – women who have continuity of care from midwives are more likely to have a natural, intervention free birth. 

Well supported mothers who trust their care provider are more likely to be well informed about the normal process of labour and birth. They’re likely to attend birth preparation classes that support their birth preferences for a natural birth and be active in advocating for their wishes. 

Studies from all over the world show women who have continuity of midwifery care:

  • Go into labour spontaneously (no labour induction)
  • Have babies at full term
  • Less likely to ask for epidurals or other pain relief drugs
  • Reduced risk of having an assisted birth (use of forceps, vacuum or c-section)
  • Have no tearing of the perineum. 

Women who are supported to have a normal birth cope better with labour both physically and emotionally. This leads to them having a more positive experience of labour and birth, with an easier recovery.  

#3: Babies do better

Babies born to mums who have continuity of midwifery care are less likely to be born prematurely or spend time in neonatal intensive care units. Their mothers are less likely to be induced or have epidurals, both of which contribute to preterm birth and fetal distress.

Just as importantly, after birth babies are less likely to be separated from their mothers with midwifery care. This assists with a much easier transition from womb to world. 

In the first minutes and hours after birth, your baby must adjust in many big and little ways, such as regulating their body and temperature systems. This is best assisted by your baby having immediate skin-to-skin contact with you. Breastfeeding is more likely to happen early, and delaying cord clamping is also supported. 

A normal birth exposes babies to healthy bacteria as they’re born, and early breastfeeding is equally important to protect their immune system, both in their early years and later in life. 

#4: Be more confident as a mother

Mothers who have midwifery care give birth feeling in control of their choices, which have a positive impact on their self confidence. 

When you’ve been supported in a way that cherishes you as an individual person and encourages you to believe in your body and yourself, you’re going to be much more confident about the role of motherhood. 

Let’s not sugarcoat it, the early days of having a newborn after giving birth can be a big adjustment. Your body has been working hard growing your baby through pregnancy, and giving birth is an extremely physical and mental event.

Your hormones shift, preparing to nourish your baby as you establish breastfeeding. Sleep might not be as plentiful as your baby adjusts to life outside their cosy nest and their survival instincts kick in. All of these factors can make you wonder if you’re the right person for this important job. 

Having established a relationship with your midwife during pregnancy, she knows you well and can offer reassurance that you’re in fact doing the best you can. She will understand your personal situation and dynamics to offer advice on baby care, breastfeeding, settling your baby and even routine health checks. 

With someone who genuinely cares about you and your baby as a support, you will get through those early days and weeks and feel more confident as you go. 

Nurtured Birth offers postnatal doula services which compliments your midwife’s care. If you’d like to discuss how a postnatal doula can support you, please contact us

How To Support New Mums This Mother’s Day

Wondering how to support new mums this Mother’s Day and make it extra special for her? 

History suggests Mother’s Day has its origins back in the days the ancient Romans and Greeks, when festivals were held to honour the mother goddesses.

Over time, celebrating mothers became less religious and more a tradition where children would present their mothers with flowers or small presents. It wasn’t formalised as a special day of appreciation until the 1930s.

You can spoil a new mum with all the presents in the world but what a lot of mamas say they would really like is support to be the best mum they can be.

It’s a lot, juggling the demands of a new baby and finding some time for self care. So why not gift the new mum in your life with support. 

We’ve put together our 5 favourite suggestions on how to support new mums this Mother’s Day and make her feel special.

#1: Help her get more sleep

Probably the one thing most new mamas crave is more sleep. It’s so hard to come by in the first weeks and even months of motherhood. Newborns take some time to adjust to being in the world and working out days and nights. So your new mama is probably very tired. 

One way to support new mums this Mother’s Day is to help them find more sleep. Take care of the baby while she sleeps in or has a long, deep sleep during the day. 

If you can manage it, organise for this to happen more than once! Ask a close and trusted family member or friend to visit regularly to look after the baby while mama gets some sleepy time.

Or hire a postpartum doula to be an extra pair of hands during the day or night so mama can get more sleep. Find out more about postnatal doulas and how to book one here

To help her sleep even better, make sure the bed is comfy, and add in a support pillow like the Denton’s Pregnancy Pillow. This is wonderful during pregnancy to support her belly as she sleeps on her side.

After birth, it takes time to readjust back to normal sleeping positions, so the pillow can provide added comfort and support new mums to get better rest. 

Click here to purchase a Denton’s Pregnancy Pillow through Nurtured Birth. 

#2: Pamper her

One thing many new mums lack is time just for her. It can be a challenge to do more than wash her face and put on clean clothes every day. Support her to have some time that’s just for her. 

This might include massage, a pedicure or even a day spa. Nurtured Birth offers gift vouchers for our massage sessions which you can purchase at this link

If being away from the baby for too long could be tricky, organise a spa day at home. You can put together a pamper pack of her favourite bath salts, scented candles, face mask and so on. Add an extra layer of luxury on top and organise an in-home Shiatsu massage with Nurtured Birth’s therapist. You can book through this link.  

#3: Family photos

A new mum doesn’t feel very glamorous after birth. A family photo session gives her an excuse to feel beautiful and have lasting memories of herself in these early days of motherhood. 

It’s not unusual for mums to spend more of their time behind the camera, capturing the special moments of the family, and missing out on the chance to be in photos themselves.

Support new mums this Mother’s Day to start a special tradition, by engaging a professional photographer to create lasting memories each year. 

#4: Help her have a night out/day off

After birth, the postnatal period can be quite stressful for new mums as they juggle all the demands of a newborn baby. The focus is often so much on the baby that a new mum can feel really lost and isolated as well. 

One way you can support new mums this Mother’s Day is to organise a special night out. If her baby is old enough to leave for a few hours with a trusted family member or friend, book a table at her favourite restaurant, or any special event she’s been keen to attend (theatre, live gig, movie … the list is endless!). 

If the baby is very young, leaving them may not be an option. Instead why not support new mums to have the day off, so she doesn’t have to lift a finger at all. Present her with breakfast in bed, a new book to read or movie to watch, order in lunch or dinner, and make her feel like the queen she is! 

#5: Hire a housekeeper for the day

New mums are often so exhausted by the day to day of having a small baby that the household chores drop far down the list of priorities.

The fourth trimester is a time to cocoon with her little one, and it’s always much easy to relax into this when her surroundings are calm and tidy. 

One of the best ways to support her this Mother’s Day is to hire a housekeeper, someone who not just cleans but organises things like shopping, cooking and sorting the endless piles of washing. 

What Are The Risks And Benefits Of C-Section Birth?

It’s important to know the risks and benefits of c-section birth. 

Most expecting parents plan and hope to meet their baby after a normal and natural birth. Yet 1 in 3 babies in Australia are born via c-section. 

Sometimes this is necessary for the safety of either mother and baby. C-sections can also happen as a result of the cascade of intervention. This means earlier interventions have disrupted the normal process of labour, leading to c-section being necessary to prevent further harm. 

The World Health Organization recommend c-section should only be performed for medical reasons. Yet research is showing overuse of obstetric interventions is increasing with no evidence of medical need. 

We cover this in our blog post Why Have A C-Section Birth?

Deciding to have a c-section isn’t something anyone should feel pressured into. You need to consider the risks and benefits of c-section birth for the short term. You also need to think about how a c-section birth might affect your future pregnancies and birth options.  

To help you be as informed as possible about your birth options, in this blog we’re looking at the risks and benefits of c-section birth. 

What are the benefits of a c-section?

The benefits of c-section centre around reducing the risk of harm to either mother or baby during labour and birth. 

This means if normal labour and birth increases the chances either the mother or baby could be harmed or die, then the benefit of a c-section is to reduce that risk. 

In rare situations, the fear of giving birth naturally is so extreme that it affects a woman’s mental health. This is known as tokophobia and can lead to pregnancy termination, avoiding prenatal care, and post traumatic stress disorder or other mental health disorders. After birth, it can affect a mother’s ability to bond with her baby. Planning a c-section in this situation may be of benefit. 

There is some reduction in the risk of pelvic prolapse compared to vaginal birth, but this is controversial as it’s suggested this only benefits women who have already had surgery to correct prolapse. 

Babies who have certain abnormalities or known health conditions which may require immediate life saving treatment may benefit from being born quickly at a certain point in pregnancy. 

Risks of having a c-section

Risks of c-sections relate mostly around those that aren’t medically necessary. As we know, many women end up having a c-section as a result of interference with the natural process of labour. 

Some will choose to have a c-section for no medical reason other than convenience but this is becoming rarer as health organisations are beginning to acknowledge the burden of c-section on the health system, women and babies. 

C-section risks for mothers:

  • A reaction to the anaesthetic used during the surgery can cause severe headaches.
  • Needing to stay in hospital longer after birth
  • Longer recovery period needed
  • Blood loss that leads to needing a blood transfusion 
  • Risk of surgical injury to other organs
  • Needing to have a hysterectomy during or after surgery
  • Blood clots on the lungs or pelvic organs
  • Infection of the bladder, uterus or the site of the incision, causing pain and discomfort in the short term, and lead to long term use of antibiotics and potentially further surgery
  • Problems in future pregnancies, related to placenta position, scar rupture, or ectopic pregnancy forming in the uterine scar
  • Scar tissue causing adhesions that lead to organs sticking to the abdominal wall or each other, causing pain and future health issues

Maternal death is increased after a c-section, compared to vaginal birth (4 times more likely after an emergency and 3 times more likely after planned c-sections. 

C-section risks for babies

  • There is a small risk of your baby being cut as the incision is being made. This is more likely to happen if your waters have broken before the surgery, you’re in active labour, the surgeon isn’t experienced, you’ve had a previous uterine incision
  • Your baby is born prematurely, especially if you have chosen an elective or planned c-section. Estimated due dates are simply guesses of when your baby will reach full term and be ready for life outside the womb
  • Breathing problems that require special care after birth. This can either be due to being born early, or the c-section was planned and labour hadn’t started. Contractions push fluid from your baby’s lungs ready for breathing. An elective c-section bypasses this process and causes fast, laboured breathing. 
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension, which is when your newborn’s system doesn’t transition and continues to flow as it did in the uterus, increasing the blood pressure and lowering oxygen levels. This is more likely to occur in babies born by planned c-section
  • Future health seems to be affected, with babies born via c-section being more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes, obesity, and asthma. It’s thought this is due to babies not being exposed to healthy bacteria in the birth canal 

Babies born via c-section are more likely to be separated from their mothers for the first minutes to hours. This is the time when babies undergo the transition from womb to world and they’re innately hardwired to be close to their mother’s body to get all the benefits. Separation after c-section can impact early bonding and breastfeeding.

Being prepared for birth means being informed and considering all your options. Nurtured Birth offers a range of services to help you navigate whatever your birth journey ends up being.

Contact us to find out more about our birth education classes, workshops on choosing care providers, and birth doula services.

Benefits Of Having A Doula At Your Birth

You may have heard of doulas but aren’t sure what they do or what the benefits of having a doula at your birth might be. 

Doulas are trained to provide informational, emotional and physical support to women and families during pregnancy, birth and the early postnatal period. 

Doulas can support women birthing in hospitals, birth centres or at home. They’re not medical professionals and don’t work for a hospital or a health professional. A doula is hired by you, for you and is focused on supporting you. 

Be sure to read our blog post What Is A Doula? Benefits Of Birth And Postnatal Doulas for more information about what doulas do.

In recent years, there’s been a huge uptick in the number of women hiring doulas as birth support. This is thought to be a response to women wanting more personalised care than is achievable in the current medicalised birth system.

As such, there’s been a number of studies into doula support and whether it actually does offer better outcomes for mothers and babies. 

A review of 22 trials looking at continuous support for women in childbirth involving over 15,000 is found in the Cochrane Library. The review was updated in 2012 and looked at the effects of continuous support during labour, as well whether the type of support made any difference. 

Let’s take a dive into this evidence and see what the benefits of having a doula at your birth really are. 

#1: Less induction

The Cochrane review found one of the benefits of having a doula is 31% of women with continuous support were less likely to be induced with artificial oxytocin (Syntocinon). 

Labor induction is the stimulation of uterine contractions before labour begins on its own. This can be done a number of ways but the most common is to use medications such as Syntocinon. 

Induction labours are generally more painful, as the uterine contractions are stronger and more intense much more quickly compared to natural labour. Constant monitoring of the baby for fetal distress means women aren’t able to move around as easily, restricting movement and increasing pain. 

In 2018, it was reported 41.6% of first time Australian mothers were induced, an increase from 30.6% in 2010. Induction of labour should only be recommended for medically necessary but recent research shows many inductions are recommended with no medical reason.

Continuous support during pregnancy and labour allows women to be more informed about their options should an induction be offered. One of the benefits of having a doula is having a sounding board who listens and responds without judgement. She can discuss why your doctor is recommending induction, help you find more information about the risks and benefits, and support you in making an informed decision. 

Should an induction of labour be the best and safest choice for you, a doula can support you to have a positive experience with the least amount of intervention.  We invite you to read Labour Induction- What Are My Options for more information. 

#2: Fewer c-section births

The review found a nearly 30% reduced risk of c-section as one of the benefits of having a doula. 

C-section is major abdominal surgery that has a host of risks for mothers and babies. We take a look into this more in What Are The Risks And Benefits Of C-Section Birth?

The World Health Organisation says c-section rates should be around 10-15% but unfortunately in Australia they’re double that. 

While c-sections are undoubtedly life saving when necessary, the fact they’re increasing worries many health experts and indicates the surgery may be overused. If you’re hoping to avoid having a c-section, then doing everything you can might include having continuous support from a doula. 

During pregnancy and labour, a doula will help to keep you calm, encouraged, reassured and motivated to achieve your birth preferences. They will create the space you need to feel comfortable and supported, perfect ingredients for a normal birth.

If a c-section becomes the best option for you and your baby, whether it’s elective or unplanned, your doula can help you have an empowered birth experience.

#3: More normal birth

Another of the benefits of having a doula is more women have a spontaneous vaginal birth than those who don’t have continuous support. 

When a woman goes into labour without any induction methods used, and births her baby without needing any assistance such as forceps, vacuum or c-section, this is known as a normal spontaneous vaginal birth.

Nature has designed the labour and birth process to be beneficial to both mothers and babies. During labour, a woman’s oxytocin levels build, peaking at the moment of birth. This hormone stimulates the powerful contractions that thin and dilate the cervix, push the baby down and out, push out the placenta and limit bleeding from the uterus. 

As contractions open the cervix, they also help the baby to move into the optimal position for birth, and shift fluid out of the lungs in readiness for breathing. 

Both mother and baby meet each other without any barriers or separation. Their immediate bonding begins, as both their brains are primed to attach to each other. 

#4: Fewer requests for pain medication

During a normal labour and birth, the pressure of your baby against the cervix and the vagina send signals to your brain to increase both oxytocin and endorphins. Endorphins are our body’s natural pain killers, helping you to cope with contraction pain. 

More oxytocin means more endorphins, and so the process of labour goes. Less oxytocin, less endorphins and contractions can become unbearable, labour can stutter and stall. This leads to health professionals responding with interventions and increased requests for pain relief.  

Oxytocin is promoted when a birthing woman feels safe, isn’t stressed or anxious, isn’t being observed or under bright lights. During your pregnancy, your doula will discuss any triggers or concerns you have so she can ensure your birthing space is protected.

One of the benefits of having a doula is how encouraged and reassured you feel. Your brain will release oxytocin and endorphins to keep labour progressing, your stress levels are low and you work with your body, not against it. Your doula can support you physically and emotionally, helping you during labour to find positions and ways to work with contractions, reducing pain. 

#5: Babies do better

One of the benefits of having a doula and continuous support during pregnancy and birth is it leads to fewer newborns being admitted to special care nurseries.

This is likely due to a combination of factors, mostly relating to their mothers being supported to have normal spontaneous births and having immediate skin-to-skin afterwards. 

Inductions increase the risk of babies being born early, leading to respiratory issues as their lungs haven’t finished developing properly. C-sections can also lead to respiratory distress, usually because fluid hasn’t been moved out the lungs by contractions during labour. This causes fast shallow breathing and can mean oxygen and possibly IV fluids if they can’t feed properly. 

When babies are born, they’re assessed at 1 and 5 minutes and given a score on the APGAR test which provides information about how well a newborn is coping after birth. Low scores on the AGPAR test are often due to fetal distress, maternal anaesthetic, or lack of stimulation which normally happens when born vaginally. C-section births tend see babies score lower on the APGAR test than those born vaginally.

Babies who are given the time and opportunity will crawl to their mother’s breast after birth and begin breastfeeding. This closeness enhances both mother and baby’s production of oxytocin and prolactin, which is essential for bonding, early attachment and breastfeeding.

Attachment is crucial for newborn survival and separation at this point can create devastating stress levels for both mother and child. 

#6: More birth satisfaction

Overall, mothers who have continuous support from a doula are more satisfied with their birth experience. While this might not seem like an important benefit, the rising rates of women experience birth related stress trauma speaks to the lack of positive birth experiences. 

How satisfied a woman is with her birth experience influences early bonding and attachment with her baby. It affects her self confidence and self esteem and will impact on future birth expectations. Women who feel in control of the choices they’ve made for such a life changing event will often be more confident as they navigate the transition to motherhood and feel more empowered to make strong choices in the future. 

Doulas often use the term empowerment to describe the nature of their role. Empowerment means to offer support that gives women the freedom or confidence to have power and control over their bodies and choices. This may look different for different women, but ultimately, the goal is to encourage self-confidence.

To enjoy all the benefits of a having a doula, contact Nurtured Birth to discuss how a birth doula can best support you.

International Women’s Day – What Is It And Why Celebrate It?

You might’ve seen International Women’s Day marked on your calendar or diary and never paid much attention to what this day is.

Or maybe your company or school invites you to take part in events or activities on IWD and you don’t really know much about the history or ongoing support of this day.

Let’s dive in and learn a little more about International Women’s Day and what it means for us at Nurtured Birth.

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8th, recognising all women for their achievements, whether that’s in the social, cultural, political and economic arena. 

IWD has been happening every day for over one hundred years and since then, it’s grown in terms of the number of organisations, governments and people supporting it. The movement has built a lot of support over the time for women’s rights and gender equality in all aspects of our lives. 

What’s the history of International Women’s Day?

The history of IWD begins with the labour movements happening at the turn of the 20th century in Europe and North America. Women started to protest against their oppression and lack of equality, leading to a march for women’s rights in New York in 1908. 15 000 women demanded voting rights, shorter hours and better pay. 

Two years later, a political leader in Germany suggested the idea of an International Women’s Day and was supported by over one hundred other women from across 17 different countries. 

The first IWD was held in 1911 on March 19th, with more than a million women and men attending protests campaigning for women’s rights to vote, work and hold public office, as well as end discrimination. In 1913 the date of IWD was moved to March 8th and has been held on this day since then. 

How is IWD celebrated in Australia?

The first IWD was held in Sydney in 1928 and was organised by the Militant Women’s Movement, where women demanded paid leave and equal pay for equal work. The following year, Brisbane held an IWD event and by 1931 marches were held in Sydney and Melbourne, continuing annually to this day. 

Why is International Women’s Day important?

Since its beginning, IWD has grown to highlight not only the achievements women have made over the last century, but to demonstrate further work needs to be done to break down the barriers that lead to gender inequality. 

This is so important, even in these times when women have the right to vote, be independent financially and hold political office. There is still a large pay gap between genders and fewer women are employed in prominent positions in corporations or organisations. 

Today, IWD reminds us to look at what has been achieved and to recognise what still needs to be done to ensure future generations of girls and women are treated equally and with respect. 

To find out more about International Women’s Day and events held annually, visit the website here.

What does IWD mean to Sarah Goldberg the Founding Director of Nurtured Birth?

 

There is nothing quite like the sisterhood, love and connection that can be fostered  amongst woman. We have so much capacity to nurture, lift up and support one another when needed. I want to celebrate all the woman around the world that deeply inspire me to do and be better. I also want to celebrate the great achievements of woman in our past and present that have tirelessly fought for more equality and humanity, highlighting disparities and  improving pathways for all  women young and old.

Incredible photo credit by Vince Hemingson http://hemingsonphotography.com/

 

7 Natural Ways To Prepare For Labour

As you get closer to your due date, you’re probably feeling so ready to give birth. 

It’s not unusual for women to start wondering if they can prepare for labour as they get to these last weeks. 

There are so many natural ways to prepare for labour, it’s hard to know which is the best to choose – or should you try them all?

Rest assured, your body was made to give birth and likely has been gently preparing without you realising. 

For some women, not doing anything can really mess with their ability to be patient and wait for labour to unfold in its own time. 

They start looking for ways to ‘get things going’ which can have the opposite effect they want.

Let’s take a look at some natural ways to prepare for labour, allowing the process to unfold as it should. 

How do you know your body is getting ready for labor?

Your body is sent signals from your baby that they’re getting close to being ready for birth. As their lungs reach the final stage of development, able to breathe after birth, certain chemicals interact with your body to begin the process of labour. Long before actual contractions start, your body is getting ready. 

Your cervix must ripen and shift position. This might be felt in slight aching or cramping, but it’s just as likely you won’t notice these sensations because you’re already dealing with back ache and Braxton hicks. 

As your cervix ripens, the mucus plug might start to come away. You might notice an increase in vaginal discharge, which looks like jelly and might be tinged with pink if your cervix has started to dilate slightly. 

You also might be feeling different emotionally. Impatient, restless, teary, obsessed with cleaning the house. Mood swings are a really big indicator you’re making the shift from pregnant to transitioning to motherhood. 

What can I do to prepare for labour?

First, let’s be clear – we encourage women who are having a healthy, normal pregnancy to embrace these last weeks and be patient with their baby and body. 

There is no need to hurry things along. Your baby is putting on the finishing touches and will chose his or her birth day when all is ready. Labour will begin when it is time for you to meet your baby. 

To allow your busy mind to step back and make way for your birthing brain, you might like to try one or any of these tips to prepare for labour:

#1: Practise relaxation techniques

Probably one of the most valuable techniques you can learn through pregnancy is how to release and let go. Relaxation encompasses not just the physical, but also the mental and emotional tensions we place on ourselves. 

Often the unconscious mind has absorbed all the stories about birth, positive and negative. This on top of facing a pandemic that is shifting how birth might look at your chosen birthplace, can increase your feelings of anxiety. 

It’s important to actively support your mental health at this time. Switch off or limit social media and the news, get plenty of sleep so you’re refreshed each day. 

Learning to breathe slowly and deeply helps your body and mind to seer into calm waters, preventing tension in your muscles, reducing stress hormones that might interfere with the hormonal shift needed for labour to begin. 

#2: Massage to prepare for labour

Massage therapy has incredible benefits for women during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. It encourages the production of oxytocin, the love hormone we release when feeling good. Oxytocin promotes contractions of the uterus, so it’s a key ingredient in getting baby from inside to outside!

Massage therapy in late pregnancy has another really important effect. Sometimes babies are tucked up in positions which aren’t ideal for birth. This might change during labour but it can be something that causes worry or anxiety beforehand, increasing stress hormones which work against oxytocin. 

Preparing your body for labour with massage therapy can stimulate acupressure points that assist with cervical dilation and contractions by boosting oxytocin levels too. 

Nurtured Birth offers massage therapy that addresses functional issues preventing your baby from getting into the optimal position for birth. Releasing muscle tension will create the space your baby needs to move into the pelvis, or to rotate from breech, posterior or even tuck their chin in! We also offer Shiatsu massage for labour preparation, which utilises specific acupressure points. 

Get in touch with us to book a massage session to start preparing for labour by contacting us here

#3: Nourish your body 

Labour is like running a marathon –  it uses up a lot of energy and you need some key nutrients to keep your reserves well stocked. 

Your uterus is your strongest muscle, with vertical and horizontal muscle fibres intertwining to create a mighty force to birth your baby. Muscles need fuel to keep working, so ensuring your diet is nutrient dense and balanced is of great importance. 

In particular, protein is essential as it’s a building block of oxytocin, so things like bone broth and meat cooked on the bone are excellent sources. 

If you’re a vegetarian, find ways to increase your protein intake during your last weeks of pregnancy. You might like to seek the support from our naturopath at Nurtured Birth for more advice on how to best meet your protein and mineral needs. 

#4: Exercise to prepare for labour

It’s hard when you’re this pregnant to even think about moving. What if we told you exercise is one of the key factors in ensuring a normal birth, with a shorter labour? Research has shown exercise to be one of the best and easiest ways to prepare your body for labour. 

It can be as simple as a walk for half an hour each day. Get your heart rate up a bit, move those muscles and breathe in fresh air – you also up your vitamin D levels and improve your gut health at the same time! 

#5: Raspberry leaf tea

Red raspberry leaf tea is a traditional brew offered to women in their last month of pregnancy. You may have the idea it’s to induce labour but instead it acts as a tonic, preparing the uterus for labour. 

Red raspberry leaves are chock full of nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, calcium, iron , potassium and magnesium. It’s often referred to as the woman’s herb as it contains a compound called fragarine, which tones and tightens muscles in the pelvic area, including the uterus. 

Some studies have shown women who drink red raspberry leaf tea will have shorter labours and fewer interventions. 

Click here to book a session with Nurtured Birth’s naturopath to find out how herbal medicine can assist in toning and strengthening your uterine muscles before you give birth. 

#6: Eating dates

You may have heard of an old wives’ tale that eating dates can help women to have an easy birth. 

This tradition comes from the Middle East and is mentioned in the Quran as well. Research into this tradition has shown it to be an effective way to prepare for labour. 

Studies show women who ate 6 or more dates every day for 4 weeks before birth were more likely to go into labour naturally, have a shorter labour, and dilate more efficiently than those who hadn’t eaten dates.

Don’t like dates? Blitz some up in a food processor, add in almond meal, coconut and cocoa, abd roll the mixture into balls. These are healthy snacks and there’s any number of recipes to search. 

#7: Boost your oxytocin

In the last stages of pregnancy, your body prepares for labour in a number of ways. Progesterone levels start to decrease, which means your body becomes more sensitive to oxytocin, the hormone responsible for uterine contractions.

Oxytocin receptors in the uterus begin to increase in number and your levels of the hormone begin to build up. This is a wonderful time to boost your oxytocin levels, to ensure the process has every opportunity to progress. Ways to do this include:

  • Laugh – it really is a wonderful tonic to lift your mood and get that love hormone flowing
  • Embrace – hugs and touch with someone you love, snuggle your pet
  • Sex – intimacy is certainly a surefire way of boosting the love hormones, especially with nipple stimulation and orgasm
  • Tune in – listening to our favourite music can increase positivity and feel good feelings that lead to more oxytocin 
  • Share – your thoughts and feelings, your time, your ear or share food. Being kind and positive towards others makes us feel good inside, which sparks off plenty of that love hormone.

The bottom line – you don’t have to do anything to get labour to start but you can be an active participant in smoothing the pathway to a positive and empowering birth. 

Nuchal Cord – What You Should Know

The way your baby is growing inside your body is nothing short of a miracle. 

The umbilical cord and placenta are your baby’s lifeline – they bring in nutrients and oxygen and take away waste products. 

The umbilical cord is a much underrated part of pregnancy and is quickly forgotten once a baby is born.

One of the fears mamas-to-be worry about is the cord being wrapped around their baby’s neck. This is called a nuchal cord and is actually very common. 

Let’s take a look at nuchal cords and what this means if your baby has one. 

What is a nuchal cord?

The umbilical cord is the long tube connecting your baby to you during pregnancy. It contains three blood vessels:

  • One carries food and oxygen from the placenta to baby
  • Two carry waste from baby back to the placenta.

A healthy umbilical cord is filled with a special substance called Wharton’s jelly. This soft, gelatinous goo protects the veins inside the cord against compression and prevents them from kinking. 

As your baby grows, so does the umbilical cord. According to research on the topic, cords can be anything from 19 to 133 centimetres at birth. 

With all that cord, it’s no wonder babies end up getting tangled up in them sometimes! While there’s plenty of space and fluid for the baby to move around in, the cord tends to slip off easily. Babies even play with their umbilical cords and get their hands and feet wrapped up. 

As they get bigger and there’s less room, the cord doesn’t move as easily. So it’s not uncommon for it to be wrapped around their body or neck. When a baby is born with the cord around their neck, this is called a nuchal cord. 

Nuchal cords happen in up to 30% or 1 in 3 births, so they’re not uncommon. The cord is rarely wrapped more than once around the neck. 

What causes nuchal cord?

Mums who have been pregnant before or are in their third trimester will know just how much babies move around! Baby movement is a good sign of their wellbeing and pregnant women are encouraged to get to know their baby’s movement patterns.

So it won’t surprise you to know baby movement is one of the main causes of why they can be born with a nuchal cord. 

But there are some other causes of nuchal cords, such as:

  • Insufficient Wharton’s jelly 
  • Being pregnant with twins or more babies
  • The cord is very long
  • You have excessive amniotic fluid, known as polyhydramnios.

How is nuchal cord diagnosed?

You might be surprised to know many nuchal cords aren’t diagnosed before birth. A nuchal cord can be picked up on ultrasound during one of your regular scans. But it’s important to remember the cord can untangle, especially if you’re still in early pregnancy. 

If a nuchal cord is diagnosed before birth, this will be noted in case your health care providers want to monitor baby during labour. 

What are the risks?

Complications happening with nuchal cords are extremely rare. Research into this area actually shows 

The main concern with nuchal cords is compression during labour. However, it’s important to remember that compression of the umbilical cord happens naturally during contractions. 

Babies usually cope incredibly well with this temporary lack of oxygen but any signs of distress will show up in their heart rate during monitoring. Your midwife will check your baby’s heart rate during labour to watch for this and make sure it’s not impacting on your baby’s well being. 

It’s a normal part of labour for a baby’s heart rate to drop during contractions, then recover. Research has shown this is often due to baby’s head or cord being compressed during a contraction or when mothers are pushing.

Studies also show a cord around the neck is unlikely to be the main reason for adverse outcomes. It’s likely those events happen in babies born with other complications as well. 

Is normal birth possible with nuchal cord?

It’s absolutely possible to have a normal labour and birth with a nuchal cord. Your care providers may suggest more frequent monitoring to ensure your baby is coping fine. To avoid increasing the chances of fetal distress, you can ask to have monitoring while you’re upright, such as sitting on a birth ball or standing. 

C-sections as a ‘just in case’ measure aren’t recommended by leading maternity care experts such as the UK’s College Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Instead, care providers should support women to give birth with as few interventions as possible, to reduce any small risk of complications with nuchal cords. 

How do I prevent complications?

Unless you have had a late ultrasound just before giving birth, there’s no way to know if your baby has a nuchal cord. Which is why it’s so important for pregnant women to be informed about how to achieve a positive birth experience with as few interventions as possible.

Interventions are often suggested to women without them understanding the ripple effect of those procedures. From breaking the bag of waters to the more invasive induction of labour, these interventions have the increased risk of causing a complication that was very unlikely to happen without it.

Even though nuchal cords rarely cause any complications, no woman wishes to put her baby in danger if there was something she could do to avoid it. 

Supporting women to have a normal, active birth is the first and most important step we can take to reduce complications and interventions that might lead to further issues.

This starts with women being informed and aware of what normal birth is. From there, offering pregnancy and birth care that supports women in achieving a normal birth, without rushing the process that must unfold for birth without complications. 

Finally, respecting a woman’s right to choose what is right for her and her baby. Care providers work in a system that encourages intervention as action. Instead, women should be informed about the way an intervention can create more problems. 

Can a nuchal cord be prevented? 

Nuchal cords are very much a normal occurrence of birth. There is an extremely small risk of anything going wrong but nuchal cords can’t be prevented. Being told your baby has a nuchal cord can cause a lot of anxiety and stress, but it isn’t anything you have or haven’t done. 

The best thing you can do to avoid complications is to work towards having a normal birth. You’re aiming for an active, upright labour, with the type of support and environment that promotes oxytocin. Caring, supportive birth team who will actively help you to achieve your birth wishes. 

Things to think about:

  • Avoid induction: this increases the strength of contractions which can increase the risk of fetal distress
  • Avoid having an epidural: these are common with inductions and tend to mean you are confined to the bed, lying down
  • Don’t have your membranes ruptured as this can increase cord compression which is more of a risk than nuchal cord
  • Monitoring should be done only as necessary and avoid being trapped lying down on a bed for long periods. 

Is nuchal cord an emergency?

Remember, your baby is getting oxygen through the cord and placenta while in labour and even in the first minutes after birth – which is why delayed cord clamping is SO important. You can read more about that in Delayed Cord Clamping And The Umbilical Cord

If your healthcare provider is not seeing signs of distress, then a nuchal cord is not an emergency. 

Nurtured Birth can support you to become informed about your birth choices and choose the right care provider for you. Please contact us to discuss how we can nurture you through this incredible journey.

Christmas Gift Ideas For New Mums

Christmas gift ideas for new mums or pregnant mamas can be tricky to figure out.

Usually it’s the baby getting all the attention – so it’s time to make sure mum gets some support too.

Becoming a mum is both the most rewarding and exhausting thing a woman will ever do. Whether you’re pregnant or had a baby during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably finding things tougher right now. 

There’s been a lot of media reports that the stress and worry of the pandemic has impacted the mental and physical health of parents, especially women who are pregnant, birthing, or parenting in these uncertain times. 

So over this Christmas period, let’s show the new and expecting mums how much we value them.

Whether it’s a practical present to make life that much easier, or something special and personal as a treat, we’ve rounded up our favourite Christmas gift ideas for new mums. 

Massage gift voucher

We talk a lot about self care but it’s not always a simple thing to squeeze into a busy mama’s life at the best of times. And when restrictions have made it hard to leave home, it can be even trickier to find the space and energy to look after yourself. 

At Nurtured Birth, we believe body therapy in the form of massage to be one of the most luscious ways for expecting and new mamas to take care of their own needs. A massage nourishes and soothes the body and mind. 

A gift voucher for self care is a beautiful way to say thank you for all you do. And partners can learn to do massage, to keep the nurture going through the holidays. 

Click here to purchase a gift voucher for massage therapy.

Breastfeeding support

If you’re expecting or your baby is born around Christmas time, having plenty of support to ensure breastfeeding goes well can ensure happy holidays. 

For the mama planning to breastfeed, Nurtured Birth has a range of products to support her choice. From nipple cups to breast pads, and delicious Franjos Kitchen lactation cookies, we have everything a breastfeeding mama needs. 

And while pumping breast milk can be a little onerous, Haakaa have created a 100% eco friendly breast pump with accessories to collect let down milk and colostrum! Not a drop of that precious liquid gets wasted. 

Click on the links above to go to our shop to purchase any of these products. 

Pregnancy pillow

Sleep is so important during pregnancy but it becomes hard to rest well as the weight of the baby puts pressure on the spine. And after birth, a new mama’s body takes time to adjust back to sleeping positions other than on her side! Add in the weather heating up over the Christmas holidays which can make sleep even more difficult to get. 

What better way to prove some support to an expecting or new mama and gift her a pregnancy pillow, designed to offer the most comfortable support for a beautiful night’s sleep. 

Nurtured Birth stocks Dentons Pregnancy Pillow because we believe it’s the best produce available for pregnancy and postnatal support. You can purchase the pillow in our online shop here

Birth support

Mamas who are pregnant may be feeling a little uncertain in the current coronavirus situation, especially if they haven’t been able to access the birth support they’d hoped to. 

Nurtured Birth offers online birth education and other birth workshops to help women and partners feel confident about their birth journey. Please follow this link to see the workshops on offer for expecting and new parents and book online. 

We also offer Rhea Dempsey’s wonderful books Birth With Confidence and Beyond The Birth Plan, highly recommended for all expecting parents. You can purchase these as a bundle by clicking this link

Connection

For many families, Christmas is a time to connect with loved ones and share good food, company and gifts. Many of us haven’t been able to see family or friends for many weeks, months or even years since the pandemic has impacted our ability to travel or visit. 

And while restrictions have been in place, there hasn’t been access to parent groups, playgroups or other activities that connect new parents into their local community.

So organising ways for a new mum to hang out with other mums is a wonderful opportunity for her to feel connected and supported. 

 Nurtured Birth runs online pregnancy and postnatal mother’s group sessions, please contact us for more information. 

And for some suggestions about other Christmas gift ideas to go along with these, how about…

  • A voucher to a streaming service mama uses, for those late night breastfeeding sessions
  • A gift membership to an audio book service, so she can keep up with the latest bestsellers 
  • A gorgeous scarf, that not only looks great with anything she wears but can double as a sunshield, pram cover or play mat
  • Find out what her favourite beauty brand is and organise a pamper pack that includes luxurious scented candles, essential oils, bath goodies…the works!
  • Silky, luxe summer pjs and robe, so she’s comfy and cool at night
  • A big but beautiful bag that doesn’t scream ‘nappies’ but fits everything she needs for a day out with bub
  • Gift mama some time off, with a babysitting voucher.

Hopefully these Christmas gift ideas have helped you get sorted for the pregnant or new mama in your life. And from all of us at Nurtured Birth, we wish you happy holidays.

Best Valentine’s Day Gifts Ideas For Pregnant Mums

Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year we go above and beyond to show our special someone how much we care about them. For many couples, it’s really special – and even more so when you’re expecting a baby! 

It’s easy for all the focus to be on the baby during pregnancy, so it’s important to show your partner you cherish her for the amazing person she is and remember why you fell in love with her in the first place. 

There are many questions about the origins of Valentine’s Day. Some suggest a festival of Ancient Rome called Lupercalia celebrating the coming of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Others believe it’s named after a number of Christian martyrs.

It wasn’t until the 14th century that Valentine’s Day was celebrated as a day for romance and lovers. And the angst of what to surprise your beloved with as a gift has probably not changed!

To help out, we’ve put together this list of best Valentine’s Day gifts for pregnant mums, to surprise and delight your partner. 

Maternity pillow

Getting a good night’s sleep is so important for everyone, whether you’re pregnant or not. But it’s not that easy for your pregnant partner to get proper rest because finding a comfortable position is challenging. 

A pregnancy or maternity pillow is giving her the gift of restful nights, which will help her to feel good during the days too. The pillow can be used long after she’s pregnant too, which shows how much you care. 

Nurtured Birth knows exactly how important a restful sleep is to pregnant women, which is why we stock the Dentons Pregnancy Pillow as we believe it’s the best in supporting a good night’s sleep. 

Prenatal massage

There’s something very special about spoiling your partner with some time on the massage table. 

Pregnancy is exciting, but all those changes can mean she’s not as comfortable, both physically and emotionally.

Massage therapy provides a nurturing space where your partner is the focus – and all the tension in her muscles and any stresses melt away. Massage during pregnancy enhances mood, reduces pain and swelling, and can have a positive impact on her birth experience. 

Surprise your pregnant partner with a luxurious Valentine’s Day massage by booking a session with Nurtured Birth’s certified prenatal massage therapists, who are specially trained to address pregnancy needs. 

Maternity photoshoot

Memorialise this special time in your lives and organise a professional maternity photoshoot for your partner. 

Not only will you look back and remember this Valentine’s Day forever, your partner will remember feeling beautiful and special, which she is! 

If the photographer you hire doesn’t organise this, book a hair and make up stylist too, to really make your partner feel pampered and amazing. 

Maternity underwear

As your partner’s body changes, you might notice she starts to feel unattractive, frumpy and ugly. It really is a challenge at times to feel that pregnancy glow. 

Make your pregnant partner feel as beautiful as you see her with a gift of gorgeous maternity underwear. Choose colours and fabrics that will make her feel special when she wears them. 

If lingerie isn’t her thing, maybe pajamas or a robe that she can wear after she gives birth as well. Look for luxe, breathable fabrics that will feel good next to her skin. 

Hire a cleaner 

Perhaps this seems like a very unromantic idea but we promise, giving your pregnant partner the gift of a clean home she hasn’t had to lift a finger to tidy herself will make her day! 

Make it special by organising the cleaner to come while you whisk your partner off and spoil her with delicious food, a movie or even a night away. 

Imagine her surprise and joy when she gets home to a clean house! Top it off with a vase of beautiful flowers and a gift certificate for another clean in the future when she needs some me-time. 

Spa day 

Go all out and surprise your pregnant partner with a day spa package, including pregnancy safe treatments such as a facial, manicure and pedicure.

Remember to tell the spa company your partner is pregnant, so avoid treatments that could raise her body temperature with excess heat such as saunas or body wraps. 

At home spa day

If your pregnant partner isn’t up for leaving the house, why not bring a day spa to her. There’s nothing like getting a personally curated gift pack of your favourite things, such as bath salts, gorgeous candles and some yummy nibbles. 

Transform your bathroom into a beautiful relaxing space, with scented candles and lush towels ready. Include a bath caddy brimming with her favourite nibbles and reading material, salts and dried flower petals to be added to the bath water.

Afterwards, continue the at home spa treatment with a loving massage using pregnancy friendly essential oils, and a mini pedi. 

A pamper pack can include whatever your partner loves, such as essential oils or candles for burning, salts for a foot soak or bath, a gorgeous heat pack, her favourite brand of moisturiser and some lovely chocolates. Include a gift voucher for a facial or pedicure and make her feel pampered and special.

Heat pack

There’s no denying pregnancy brings with it many types of aches, pains and muscle spasms as the body changes in order to grow another human being! One of the best ways to ease these aches and pains is to use heat on the area.

Heat therapy increases blood flow which brings oxygen and nutrients to the areas that are sore and painful. It’s a soothing way to ease pain and bring comfort to joints, muscles and ligaments in areas of your partner’s body that need it. 

There are some absolutely beautifully designed and scented heat packs on the market these days. Not only does a heat pack help ease those sore muscles and joints your pregnant partner feels at the end of the day, if it’s gorgeous as well, it will lift her mood thinking about how you care for her wellbeing. 

Gestational Diabetes – Everything You Need To Know

It’s natural to worry if you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes or told you’re at risk of developing the condition during pregnancy. 

You may feel anxious gestational diabetes will change your birth plans or cause you to need interventions during labour.

Remember, being informed about your pregnancy care and health means you can make the best decisions for you and your baby. 

Most women who develop gestational diabetes will have healthy pregnancies, normal births and beautifully healthy babies. 

Let’s take a dive into the topic of gestational diabetes, what causes it and how it’s treated. 

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. It’s diagnosed when your blood sugar levels are too high, usually between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

According to health data from 2017, 1 in 7 or 15% of pregnant women in Australia develop gestational diabetes, and this number is growing each year.

The increase in number is potentially due to more women having babies later, as the incidence of GDM increases as women age. 

What causes gestational diabetes?

During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones to support your baby’s growth and development. These hormones have an effect on your insulin, which is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar or blood glucose levels. It moves glucose from your blood to your cells to be used for energy. 

In pregnancy, your body becomes slightly insulin resistant, so there’s more glucose in your bloodstream and this is passed onto your baby. But if the resistance to insulin increases, this causes blood glucose levels to become very high, leading to GDM. 

Usually once you’ve given birth, your blood sugar levels will return to normal. However, having gestational diabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. 

Who is at risk of developing gestational diabetes?

There are some women who are more likely to develop GDM than others. These women have risk factors such as:

  • Had GDM in previous pregnancy
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Mother or sister had GDM
  • Are older, especially over 40 years of age
  • Before pregnancy above healthy weight range
  • Have had elevated blood glucose levels before 
  • First Nations women
  • Women from African, South Asian, Polynesian, Middle Eastern, Melanesian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Hispanic and South American backgrounds 
  • Have polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Have had a large baby (>4.5kg)
  • Taking certain medications, such as steroids. 

Bear in mind, women with no known risk factors can also develop gestational diabetes.

What are the warning signs of GDM?

It’s actually not very common for gestational diabetes to cause symptoms. Most women who have symptoms find they’re mild, and include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision.

Most often women don’t realise they have GDM until they have routine screening at 24-28 weeks pregnant. 

How do you diagnose gestational diabetes?

It’s recommended all pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. 

Screening involves having an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). You need to fast for 8-12 hours (usually overnight) and then have a blood sample collected. After the blood test, you will drink 75mg of sugar and then have your blood sugar levels tested 2 hours later. 

If the blood test shows glucose levels above normal, you’re then diagnosed with gestational diabetes. 

What’s the treatment for gestational diabetes?

The good news is, most women with gestational diabetes can have a healthy pregnancy, normal birth and a healthy baby. Much of this will depend on two things:

  • How you manage your gestational diabetes
  • Your care provider’s attitude and support.

Nutrition is so important during pregnancy, but a diagnosis of GDM can mean extra focus on the quality of food you’re eating.

It’s recommended you include plenty of nutrient dense vegetables, high quality protein, healthy fats, legumes and pulses, and wholegrain carbohydrates.

Strive to include a variety of foods and stay away from foods high in sugar and highly processed. They provide little in terms of nutrients and are likely to cause your blood sugar levels to spike. 

Exercise not only helps to keep blood glucose levels stable, there are other benefits too! Did you know pregnant women who exercise are likely to have shorter labours and easier births? Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days, which can be as simple as a brisk walk or swimming laps. 

Managing gestational diabetes means having the support of those around you – family, friends and your healthcare providers.

It’s not uncommon for women to be told they will need interventions due to having gestational diabetes when it comes time to give birth. Having a supportive care provider who works with you to achieve a normal and positive birth experience is important.

It also means being informed about the best options for you, when you get close to full term.

Some women are fortunate and can manage their GDM with lifestyle changes alone. Others will need to take medication.

Metformin is a medication that helps your body to respond better to insulin, as well as keeping your weight and blood pressure down. There are some side effects, which include an upset stomach and diarrhea. 

Insulin may be needed, which is given via injection, if Metformin isn’t working or can’t be taken. Your healthcare team will show you how to use the insulin injections, where to store them and so on.

What happens if GDM is untreated?

If GDM isn’t managed, it can lead to high blood sugar levels that cause problems for you and your baby. 

Gestational diabetes can cause you to:

  • Develop high blood pressure and preeclampsia
  • Have interventions such as a c-section
  • Develop diabetes in the future. 

Gestational diabetes increases the risk your baby will:

  • Grow larger than usual due to the increased blood glucose. The main concern is the baby will be too big and need interventions to be born, such as c-section
  • Be born prematurely, either unplanned or due to induction 
  • Have breathing problems at birth and need special care
  • Have low blood sugars which can cause seizures. This needs monitoring, early feeding and sometimes IV fluids
  • Be stillborn (very rare)
  • Develop obesity/type 2 diabetes later in life. 

What should I avoid eating with gestational diabetes?

As we mentioned earlier, the best diet you can have while pregnant is one that takes in as much variety of nutrient dense foods as possible. There’s no need to remove any food group, but there’s certainly a case for watching how much you eat of certain foods, such as simple carbohydrates. 

Simple carbs are the type which cause your blood sugar to rise quickly after eating. The best way to avoid this is to swap them out with more complex carbohydrates, such as wholefood grain options, more vegetables and lean protein.

Definitely assess the amount of sugar you’re eating, and limit sugary foods like sweets, chocolate and biscuits. If you’re craving sugar, opt for healthier options like berries with yoghurt or chia pudding. Try to include protein with your meals and snacks to encourage blood glucose levels to stay stable. 

Can drinking water help gestational diabetes?

It’s important to think about what you’re drinking, not just your food intake.

Sugary drinks or beverages like chai lattes are likely to drive your blood glucose levels up so try to avoid them. Even fruit juices and smoothies can be high in sugar so keep that in mind as well. A smoothie made at home with almond milk, berries and yoghurt with a dash of cacao is a much better option. 

But the main fluid you should be drinking is water. Water has no calories or carbohydrates so it’s perfect as it won’t raise blood glucose levels. 

Can you get rid of GDM while pregnant?

Many women want to know if they can prevent or reverse gestational diabetes, especially if they’re concerned having the condition will impact their birth choices. 

Nearly 50 years ago a study looked at the effects of vitamin B6 on gestational diabetes. The study size was small but the results indicated a deficiency of B6 was linked to gestational diabetes. Further research has been conducted since then which suggests there is definitely a link between vitamin B6 and gestational diabetes. 

Ensuring your diet has plenty of vitamin B6 when pregnant is important for your developing baby too. It’s vital for their brain and nervous system development, and helps their body to metabolize carbohydrates and protein. Fish, lean meat, and nuts are excellent sources of vitamin B6, as well as chickpeas. 

If you’re worried about your nutritional profile, ask your healthcare provider to organise blood tests. Supplements are useful only if you are deficient in nutrients.

Does gestational diabetes go away after birth?

Normally, GDM disappears after you give birth. It’s usual for your doctor or midwife to test your glucose levels 6-12 weeks and it’s recommended to have testing every year for type 2 diabetes if you’re planning another baby. 

Breastfeeding after birth is especially beneficial for mothers who had gestational diabetes as it helps to regulate both your weight and your baby’s. 

To reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes after GDM, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight range, eat a wonderfully nutritious diet and be physically active whenever possible. 

If you need support for the prevention or management of gestational diabetes, you may like to see Nurtured Birth’s naturopath who can work with you to create a holistic pregnancy care plan.

Please contact us for more information or to book an appointment.