Posts tagged birth
What is Gestational Diabetes and How Will It Effect My Pregnancy?
 

What is Gestational Diabetes?

In a nutshell, Gestational Diabetes (GD) is a label applied when a pregnant person’s Blood Glucose Levels (BGL) are higher than “normal”. Regardless of your general health or existing risk factors for developing GD, you will likely be asked to take a test around the midway point in your pregnancy (you know the one we’re talking about - the “dreaded” and somewhat controversial orange drink you’ve likely heard about from your friends?) What they are testing for is to see how quickly your body is able to work to bring your blood sugar levels back down to a normal range after shocking your system with a huge sugar bump.

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What does having GD mean, exactly?

Around the 20th week of pregnancy, your placenta starts releasing hormones that cause some level of insulin resistance in your cells (ie. the insulin naturally produced by your body cannot absorb the excess glucose from your blood as easily because the cells have become resistant to insulin). When this happens, the body starts producing more insulin to capture as much excess glucose as possible, but sometimes the body can’t keep up. When this happens, there is an excess of glucose in your blood and you may be labelled as having Gestational Diabetes. The good news is that this condition is temporary and will typically resolve itself after you give birth to your beautiful baby! However, while you are pregnant, there are some things you should know about the label of Gestational Diabetes and some of the choices you may have to make in the coming months.

How can having high BGL affects me and my baby?

When a pregnant person has high BGL continuously during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of the pregnant person struggling with high blood pressure, developing pre-eclampsia and possibly Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease later on in life. Because your baby is also receiving some of that extra glucose, their body will bump up their level of insulin production to regulate their own BGLs and after birth, when that extra insulin isn’t needed, baby could have some trouble regulating their BGL while glucose and insulin levels balance out. If the high BGLs are not managed well, there is an increased risk of preterm or complicated birth as well.

gestational diabetes and big babies


One of the biggest concerns that people (including health care providers) have when GD comes into the picture of the potential of having a “big baby”. While it is possible that a bigger baby could mean a tricky birth due to shoulder dystocia or a possible cesarean section, it is certainly not a foregone conclusion! Yes, when babies are getting more glucose during gestation they do tend to get a bit chunkier, especially in the upper body, but there is no reason to panic. People give birth to “big” babies (what does “big” even mean?) all the time! If you have high BGLs or have been labelled as having GD, make sure you take some time to read up a bit on this issue because your care provider will almost certainly have concerns and you will want to be an informed participant in an important conversation!

For more information on Gestational Diabetes, “big babies” and inductions check out this great post over at Evidence Based Birth Does Gestational Diabetes Always Mean a Big Baby and Induction?

So, if I am labelled as having Gestational Diabetes, what does that mean for my pregnancy and birth?

For most people, managing Blood Glucose Levels and having a healthy and happy pregnancy is totally achievable with a little extra self-care and good communication with your health care team throughout your pregnancy. Having Gestational Diabetes does not mean you are sick or that you cannot physically have the birth you have envisioned for yourself.

Advocating for evidence based care (as opposed to routine care) will be very important if you are hoping to have a vaginal birth or to avoid an induction because, unfortunately, many care providers feel the risk of a “big baby” outweighs the risks of induction or cesarean birth, even though the evidence does not necessarily support that conclusion.

The reality is that once you have been labelled as having Gestational Diabetes, even if your BGLs are within normal limits after the initial “diagnosis”, you will be faced with limitations on when and where your care providers are comfortable with you giving birth. Giving birth at home is often ruled out as an option (though not always - so if this is a goal make sure to you advocate for yourself) and inductions or planned cesareans become part of the conversations you will be having with your team as they work to reduce documented and perceived risks to you or your baby.

Keep the conversation going with your healthcare providers about what their concerns are and above all, ask for evidence based information to help you decide how you would like to move forward with your birth.

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What can I do to take care of myself and regulate my BGLs?

Depending on how high your BGLs are, you will be able to help regulate your levels through diet, exercise, oral medications or insulin. There is some evidence to suggest that, if medication is needed, managing BGLs with oral medications in place of insulin may reduce the risk of your baby having low-blood sugar after birth (for more see Cochrane review here) . One more thing to add to your list of questions when you talk to your doctor or midwives!

Whether or not medication is required, connecting with a dietitian to help you meal plan in a way that will keep you happy and healthy is a great idea and will take some of the guess work out what can seem like a big life change. If you are reading this blog post and are from the Peterborough, ON like we are, you can check out this great list of Registered Dietitians in our area to get started.

Your body. Your baby. Your birth!

Finding out that you have Gestational Diabetes is probably not the news you were hoping for but it isn’t necessarily bad news. You can have a happy and healthy pregnancy - we promise! Ask questions, work with your healthcare team to get the care that you want, and remember when it comes to birth it is your body and your baby and you are the one calling the shota!

 
Massage for Pregnancy & Labour

Meet Melanie Wood, RMT

Melanie has been an RMT for 11 years with extensive experience treating prenatal and postpartum clients. She chose massage therapy as a profession because she has a passion for using the positive touch of massage to help others improve their well being and assist in their healing. Melanie knows how important touch can be during pregnancy and labour and is excited to bring this great workshop to the Hello, Baby! Hub for you!

Hello Baby Workshop Massage

Touch is an important tool

It is very common for pregnant people to have back pain, sore hips, and all sorts of other aches and pains. Your body is changing and you are carrying a whole other person around! Massage is a simple way to help make yourself comfortable. Anyone can learn the basics and all you need are two hands!

Massage is also an amazing tool to help bring comfort while you labour. Whether you are giving birth for the first time or looking to try something different with this next birth experience, practicing touch and massage in different positions is a great way for you and your birth partner to learn to work together to make your labour smooth and comfortable. 

Add massage to your tool kit!

This workshop is perfect for anyone looking to learn skills that will help them work through the intensity of labour and birth together with a partner. Whether you are a first time parent or having your second or third baby, touch can play an important role in managing your labour together with your partner.

During the workshop, Melanie will give you tools to:

  • Feel empowered as a team to cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and birth

  • Confidently know how and when to perform massage

  • Decide which positions may be more helpful at different times and easily accommodate the use of massage

  • Manage the different stages of pregnancy and labour naturally with massage techniques

  • Increase your sense of connection, support, and relaxation as a birth team

Go team!

Register for this great workshop happening Wednesday June 20th from 7-9pm at the Hello, Baby! hub, downtown Peterborough. The workshop fee includes a spot for you and a partner!

How does a prenatal education class prepare DAD for birth?

" I wanted to take a class but he wasn't really into it!" 

Taking a prenatal education class is definitely NOT just for moms.  Dads have a lot to learn and typically don't spend as much time during those 40 weeks of pregnancy reading up on cervical changes, contractions, and other birthy stuff. But, if they want to be there for you during labour then getting on the same page is a must! 

So how can a prenatal education class help to prepare Dad to have a positive experience with birth and to be a kick ass birth partner? 

Peterborough prenatal education Hello Baby

Taking a class helps Dads know what to expect.

You will be the one giving birth but the birth of a child is an important experience for Dad, too. It is 100% normal for him to be emotional watching you labour. Watching someone work that hard and dig that deep can be tough when your partner doesn't have a good understanding of how birth works!  This is even more true when Dad is not sure if what you are experiencing is normal or cause for concern. Once you have taken a class, you will both have a solid understanding of the basics of birth and what labour can look and sound like. A good prenatal education class should help to answer your questions and take some of the mystery out of birth.

Taking a class helps Dads learn new skills to help during labour.

If Dad is your main birth partner, he is going to need to know what he can do to help you manage those contractions when they start to get more and more intense!  Some of his regular day to day massage techniques might help but sometimes you will need more targeted touch.  Taking a prenatal education class together means that Dad will have a chance to practice some new skills (usually called comfort measures) with you so he will know where to rub, press and squeeze for maximum pain relief while you labour that baby down! Being able to offer this kind of hands on pain relief really helps Dad step into role as your birth partner. 

Being on the same page means Dad can help you make choices along the way.

 A big part of being a birth partner is understanding birth and the different options and choices you will come upon as labour unfolds. When you take a class together, you are going into birth on the same page. It is not uncommon to hear from a Dad that he felt out of the loop or uncertain about what was going on at different times during birth. A prenatal education class will give Dad the language and tools to be an active part of birth and to feel included.  

Prenatal education is for Dads, too!

If you think you want to take a prenatal ed class but your partner is sitting on the fence, let him know all of the amazing information and skills he could learn by coming to class with you! 

Have you thought about what happens AFTER birth?

Healing and finding balance. 

Too often we think about “bouncing back” from pregnancy, ignoring the important new changes to our bodies and lives.  You have created a whole tiny human, birthed that baby, and the life changes keep on rollin' in as you and your family adjust to your new roles and family dynamic.  This is big stuff, friends. 

Slow the *F* down.

For some reason, after giving birth we have a notion that within days we should be able to jump right back into life as it was before birth and baby.  Why?!  Give yourself some time and space to rest and recover.

Let's be real here for a minute, O.K.?  There is no going back, friends. You have some serious healing to do - even if your birth was "text book" and physically you feel great!  Your body has given so much to your tiny human during pregnancy and you need to replenish and find a new way forward. 

The 4th Trimester

Whatever you want to call it, the weeks and months after giving birth are an important period of time for you, your baby, and your whole family. Just as you made space for learning and self care during your first three trimesters, giving yourself that same love and care during the first few months after birth is absolutely important!  So, what can you do to help yourself during that postpartum period?

Shop. Learn. Connect. Grow. 

Cloth pads:   County Cloth Creations    Fridet the MomWasher:   Fridababy   Herbal sitz blend:   Hello, Baby!

Cloth pads: County Cloth Creations  Fridet the MomWasher: Fridababy Herbal sitz blend: Hello, Baby!

1. Invest in some quality postpartum care products.

You don't need a whole lot of gadgets and fancy pants stuff after birth (though we are HUGE fans of Fridet the MomWasher for perineal care - it just makes sense!) but investing in some natural and effective care products can help make your recovery from birth a whole lot more comfortable. The Hello, Baby! shop (located downtown Peterborough) has a great selection of healing and self care products - come check them out!

2. Take a class! There is a lot to learn about postpartum wellness. 

Part of our Birth + Baby Prep School classes focuses on recovery from birth (vaginal and cesarean) because as birth parents ourselves, we know how important it is to know what is normal and when to reach out for help after birth. We also have some other amazing learning opportunities coming up at the Hello, Baby! hub if you want to plan ahead and make your postpartum recovery a little easier!

 

Sitting Moon postpartum workshop

Jesse Gottlieb-Jacob R.Ac R. Tcmp has been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Peterborough for ten years. In that time he has worked with many women trying to conceive, maintain a healthy pregnancy,  prevent the need for inductions, and restore postpartum health. His aim is to provide insight and support to make the transformative time of pregnancy as nourishing and connected as possible.

Join Jesse to learn about the tradition of Sitting Moon. He will walk you through examples of how you and your family can support your postpartum recovery, review some nutritious recipes, and demonstrate helpful exercises that you can practice safely after birth.  

Wear comfy clothes and bring a notebook. Yoga mats, water and tea provided by Hello, Baby!

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Join Jill Persson from Health with Jill on July 12th from 10am to 1130am to talk about how to eat well after birth!

Life with a new baby is challenging enough on its own. Trying to find the time and energy to make a balanced meal can seem downright impossible. Arm yourself with confidence and a nutrition toolkit to help you make healthful choices that nourish your body and mind. We’ll cover:

  • Nutrition that aids in recovery from all types of birth

  • Foods to support breastfeeding

  • Simple meal planning strategies

  • How food can give you more energy, lift your mood, and help you sleep better

  • What to eat when there’s no time to cook and you only have one hand free

  • Walk away with a collection of simple, fast recipes designed to nourish and energize

3. Build your community & learn new skills!

Connecting with other new parents is such an important part of finding balance in your new life.  Choosing one or two weekly activities to break up the weeks and keep you connected to your peers is a great idea!  The New Parent Club is one of the best weekly meet ups around because it combines community, comfort, and learning. The New Parent Club is a 6 week session for you and baby. You can come and enjoy a comfy couch, refreshments, and weekly mini-workshops on subjects ranging from infant sleep to family friendly natural remedies facilitated by health and wellness professionals right here in Peterborough! Grow your skills base and learn from one another - this is the way parenting is meant to be.

Make the most of your 4th trimester!

Don't rush yourself through such an important time in your life. Healing physically and emotionally after birth sets you up for a smoother transition into parenting and a healthier life!  Invest in yourself and spend some time making a postpartum plan to help you and your family move forward into your new lives with baby!