10 articles Articles posted in Maternity

Why is an Invasive Ultrasound Important?

transvaginal_ultrasoundIf your doctor has scheduled an invasive ultrasound, you’re most likely asking yourself, “What does this mean?” At this point, your mind is racing with all sorts of thoughts- Is something wrong with my baby, Why do I need this procedure, and Are there any risks? There are many reasons that would constitute your obstetrician scheduling such a procedure. During early term pregnancies, an invasive ultrasound is often the only way to get a clear picture of what is happening within your body as the fetus is too small to be visible during a regular ultrasound. If your doctor has concerns regarding your due date or your medical history, he or she may order this procedure to ensure there are no complications.

An invasive ultrasound, also called a transvaginal ultrasound, is a safe and simple procedure. Similar to a regular, surface ultrasound, this procedure works by emitting sound waves from a wand called a transducer into your uterus. These sound waves bounce back and return to the machine, forming a picture on the monitor. The only difference between a transvaginal and a surface ultrasound is the shape and location of the transducer. During an internal ultrasound, the thin transducer wand is placed within the vagina instead of being swept across the abdomen. Due to the placement of the wand, this form of procedure is best suited for early term pregnancies, particularly before the ten week mark, as it is able to give a clearer picture of the miniscule fetus.

One of the most common reasons for an obstetrician scheduling this early stage procedure is history or concern of an ectopic pregnancy. If you have previously had an ectopic pregnancy, or someone in your direct family has experienced one, then it is likely that your doctor will want to rule out this complication immediately. Ectopic pregnancies can be life-threatening for a woman, which means early diagnosis is imperative. If another test comes back inconclusive or abnormal, your doctor may want to run further tests. An internal ultrasound is a rare opportunity to ensure that your growing fetus is safe, healthy, and correctly placed. This form of ultrasound is also great for double checking the placement of the placenta, as well as correctly identifying the number of fetuses.

While the description of the procedure may sound uncomfortable, rest assured- it is painless. If safety for your unborn child is your concern, know that your doctor will not suggest anything that would put your baby at risk. Invasive ultrasounds emit no radiation and pose no known risks to the mother or fetus; they have been used consistently since their inception in the 1980s with no documented side effects or safety concerns. An invasive, or transvaginal, ultrasound can be an important tool in the development of your baby and the treatment of any complications that may arise. If you have concerns or questions about the procedure, your obstetrician is your best resource and ally. It is important to keep in mind that your doctor will only order a procedure that they feel is necessary in the successful treatment of you and your baby.

This post was written for Mums the Word by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used portable ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn Josephik on Google+.

Maternity Matters Week 4 #maternitymatters

I can’t quite believe this is the fourth Maternity Matters linky already! We really hope you’re enjoying the process of sharing and reading so many great posts as much as we are. Seeing how pregnancy and birth experiences vary so much from person to person is as beautiful as it is informative and that uniqueness is exactly what’s at the core of Maternity Matters.

As usual, we’d love it if you displayed our badge, either on your individual posts or in your sidebar, and we’d also be grateful for anyone who isn’t already to follow the Maternity Matters Facebook and Twitter accounts.



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

Maternity Matters Linky Week 3 – #MaternityMatters

One thing that Susanne and I set out to do when we started Maternity Matters was give parents a voice, regardless of how difficult the subject they’re talking about might seem, which is why in the past few years, Maternity Matters has covered topics such as birth trauma, SIDS, Post Natal Depression and PND. Pregnancy and labour can be incredibly beautiful experiences, but they can also be difficult and potentially traumatic, and we felt strongly that by collecting stories from a variety of experiences we might be able to help people who needed information, or those who simply needed to feel that they weren’t alone.

If we’ve managed to help or educate even ONE person since we started, then I think I speak for us both when I say that we feel we’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Writing about our experiences has been hugely cathartic for both myself and Susanne and encouraging others in the same way is a huge part of the Maternity Matters ethos.

So, in that vein, here’s the form for the third #MaternityMatters linky – we’d love you to link up any posts, old or new, positive or difficult, anything pregnancy, maternity, baby or health related that you’d like to share. As ever, we’d love you to comment on as many of the shared posts as possible and don’t forget to grab our badge!



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

#MaternityMatters – Week Two

It’s a fortnight since Susanne and I launched the Maternity Matters linky and we had some absolutely amazing posts linked up in that time. Reading about everyone’s experiences reminds us exactly why we started Maternity Matters in the first place and we hope that the linky will continue to be as popular in the coming weeks.

This week, I’ve linked the post that I wrote about my second c-section and how it was a healing experience, compared to the chaos and heartache of Sausage’s emergency c-section birth. I was terribly nervous all through my pregnancy at the thought of being awake through what amounts to some pretty major abdominal surgery and I even watched videos on YouTube of other people’s elective cesareans so I’d have an idea of what I could expect (control freak? Me?!). If you’ve got a fairly strong stomach, I’d actually recommend watching a few videos if you’re unsure of what to expect from a c-section as seeing it in action completely demystified the whole process for me and gave me a much better understanding of what would happen on the day.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s where you can link your posts this week, and don’t forget to grab our lovely badge to stick at the bottom of your posts so that your readers know where to find lots more great maternity-related writing.



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

The Return of Maternity Matters

When I started blogging in the Autumn of 2010, a large part of my need to get my thoughts out of my head was because of the birth trauma I’d suffered whilst having Sausage in August 2008. Skip forward two years and I’d joined forces with Susanne from Ghostwriter Mummy, someone I’d only ever communicated with online, but who understood me better than some people I’d known my whole life because she’d been through a traumatic birth of her own.

You don’t want to believe that trauma, depression and PTSD will be something that defines you for the rest of your life but, in my experience, it’s something that does stay with you forever – you just learn how to carry it more comfortably, over time, like a heavy bag with a rubbish handle.  And it’s out of this shared experience that Susanne and I started Maternity Matters, a place for us and anyone else to tell their stories, find some support and to join together in improving knowledge and care for families who’ve suffered a trauma.

Over the past three years we’ve shared some incredible accounts of women of all ages and all walks of life, as well as collating news regarding maternity care in the UK, although life and babies (two more for Susanne and one more for me, bringing our collective total to six!) meant that the site has gone unloved for a while…until NOW! We’re hoping to bring Maternity Matters back to life and get it back on track. Susanne and I have a lot of new experiences to write about and we’re hoping that we’ll have lots of contributions from fellow bloggers and parents who want to share their stories.

In the meantime, Susanne and I will be launching the #MaternityMatters linky, starting tomorrow, for you to link up any article, blog post or story relating to:

fertility

conception

pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions/ complications

childbirth – of all kinds

breast/bottle feeding

postnatal experiences

parenting a baby

pregnancy/baby loss

The linky will go live every other Friday and we’d love to get as many of you as possible linking up with ANYTHING maternity-related. Also, if you’d like to contribute to Maternity Matters, please email jayne@maternitymatters.net with your ideas.

MaternityMatters

A Healing Birth

IMG_20140226_082159If you’ve read Sausage’s birth story before, you’ll know that it didn’t go at all to plan. The whole thing was a disaster, right up until the surgeon pulled her from my body in under a minute, saving her life and getting her into the world safely. It’s taken five years to consider the prospect of doing it all again, but as you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, my second daughter was delivered just over three weeks ago.

I had to be in hospital for two and a half days before I gave birth as I was only 36+6 weeks gone and had to have steroid injections to ensure that the baby’s lungs were properly developed. However, steroids can play havoc with blood sugar and being diabetic already meant that I needed to be closely monitored to ensure that I didn’t go too low or too high, as well as being on a constant insulin drip. I had to take my blood sugar, via finger prick test, every hour for the entire duration of my hospital stay, which sucked. The first night I was there, I managed a total of 45 minutes sleep, and the second night about 2 hours sleep.

By Monday morning, I was SO ready for my c-section to happen, despite being nervous about the whole thing, and luckily I didn’t have long to wait. Husband arrived before 9am and soon, the scrub nurse was ushering him off to get into scrubs and wellies (yes, seriously, wellies! Although, I must say, he looked rather tasty in scrubs!).

Walking into the operating theatre felt odd – last time, I’d been shoved through on a gurney and put to sleep in the space of a few seconds. Now, I was chatting and laughing with the theatre staff and being put at ease by Husband. The spinal was the part I was dreading the most, but I had two anaesthetists in the room, both of whom were very reassuring and kind, and not only was it over in no time, but it was SO much less painful than I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, feeling someone sticking a needle into my spine was slightly odd, but it was totally manageable.

Once they were sure that the spinal had worked, the screen was put up and the operation began. I could feel lots of pulling and moving around, but no pain – all of it was very odd! At one point, Husband stood and looked over the top of the screen, just in time to see the baby being pulled out of my tummy! She’d been very low down and had wedged herself in with one arm above her head, so the surgeon had to use one side of a set of forceps like a spoon to help him to scoop her out.

Between the moment she was pulled out of my body and the first time I heard her cry, it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room. The trauma of Sausage’s birth hung over me like the blade of an axe, but hearing her let out a cry made the horrible memories evaporate. I’ll admit, I cried right along with my newborn daughter, tears of relief and love pouring out of me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude to both the team who’d done my c-section, and the surgeon who’d managed to deliver Sausage all those years ago.

It had all gone to plan and my newborn daughter had been delivered safely.

After the baby was out, the surgeon took a long time sewing me back up and it really shows – my scar is almost invisible! One of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had was as the team were prepping me to take me to recovery; out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the nurses move something across the bed – it was only when I looked down that I realised the ‘something’ she’d moved had been my right leg, but I had no sensation in it at all!

Despite three miserable days spent hooked up to a drip, despite my tiredness, my bruised coccyx from sitting in a bed the whole time, despite being away from Sausage and Husband and despite all of my fears, I felt utterly blissful in the hours after the birth. It was such a different experience from my first c-section and I really felt like it had gone a long way to repairing some of the damage done to my heart and mind. Being conscious and hearing my baby’s first cry was something I’ll never forget.

 We were home within a day and a half and family life has steadily been getting back to some semblance of normality. We’ve discovered that the baby loves to be swaddled, wrapped like a burrito, leading to the name she’ll be known as here on the blog…Burrito Baby, or BB!

I’ve got lots more to tell you all about the first three weeks of BB’s life, so keep your eyes peeled for more posts. Also, there’s still time to nominate Mum’s the Word for Best Pregnancy Blog in the MAD blog awards, if you feel like doing us a favour…

Sometimes, Breast Is NOT Always Best

Bottle FeedingI promised myself I wasn’t going to chime in on this debate, it’s one of those subjects on which people will never agree and I completely respect the right of any woman to make the decision she wants to make in regards her own body and that of her baby. However, this latest piece of news about breastfeeding is leaving me feeling really upset. In case you haven’t heard, the Government has put forward a proposal to offer mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies a £200 shop voucher as a reward.

According to the BBC: “The pilot scheme is being targeted at deprived areas of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire and funded through a collaboration between government and the medical research sector. A third area is expected soon with the plan to trial it on 130 women who have babies from now until March. If it proves successful, a nationwide pilot could be rolled out next year.”

While I don’t debate that helping women who want to breastfeed is a positive thing, this scheme couldn’t be any less helpful to women who are not in a position to be able to breastfeed. Further to this, there needs to be a more general acknowledgement that being ‘physically unable’ to breastfeed isn’t the only valid reason for women to choose not to do it. What about those women for whom there’s a psychological issue? Is it fair to further add to the stigma for them?

The main reason I wasn’t going to comment on this issue was because of my own relationship with breastfeeding. As soon as I fell pregnant with Sausage, I knew that I would be unable to do it. The thought of breastfeeding is literally repellent to me; the thought of a child latched on to my nipple makes me feel physically nauseous (for reasons which are real and genuine, but I’m not going to go into here) and while some women may consider it selfish of me to not try and overcome these issues and feed my child, for me it was easier to reduce that pressure and give my child adequate nutrition by other means, enabling me to concentrate on being the best mother that I could be.

Am I jealous of earth-mother types who have no problem breastfeeding? Well, yes, I suppose I am, but only because they’re viewed as better mothers than me. As it turns out, because Sausage was in the NICU and I didn’t get to hold her until she was a week old, I never produced any milk at all, not even a slight leakage, so when people ask about feeding, this is the part I tell them, so worried I am about the stigma of bottle feeding by choice. But, consider this:

I’ve never smacked my child.

She’s never stayed with anyone other than Husband and I overnight and we rarely go out as a couple and leave her with anyone else.

She’s developmentally advanced for her age.

She’s kind, polite, well spoken and deeply considerate of others.

Do I deserve vouchers for this? Is none of this on-par in terms of importance with how I chose to nourish her as a baby? Does the person that we’ve raised not have more of an impact on society than whether she was fed from a bottle?

Whilst talking about this on Twitter yesterday, the Tots100 Twitter team asked:

totstweet

In short, my answer to this is no, you can’t please everyone all the time, but I’m not sure if this scheme does represent the many OR the few in either case. I receive a whole load of press releases each day and this morning alone, I’ve received emails with the following titles:

“Newly-Qualified Student Midwives Cannot Find Jobs”

“Pay Freeze Forces Nurses To Take On Extra Shifts”

“Maternal Mental Health Alliance Launches Innovative Guidance About Specialist Mental Health Midwives”

I’ve blogged before about the fact that I’m a huge fan of the NHS, but surely these three short sentences illustrate perfectly that there are SO many more valuable areas in which money could be spent? I understand that it’s NHS policy to encourage breast above bottle, but surely improving care and empowering women by helping them to have happy births is a far more sensible distribution of resources? As a mother who dealt with more than her share of pregnancy and post-natal issues, I can wholeheartedly say that a very close second, in terms of importance, to the health of the child is the mental health and happiness of the mother and pressurising women with financial incentives is just cruel.

In typical Tory fashion, the areas which have been chosen to pilot this scheme are ‘deprived’, which means that the Government is basically making new mothers jump through hoops for a small financial gain. Does that not seem rather distasteful to you? What of those women who have genuine issues with breastfeeding, but feel unable to turn down the financial incentive because of their circumstances? One of the biggest factors in causing post-natal depression is the feeling of loss of control at some point during the pregnancy or birthing process, so by forcing women to make decisions which make them uncomfortable, because they simply cannot say no to the cash, makes me genuinely concerned about the potential for a huge rise in cases on PND in the UK.

And more to the point, what right do these people have to try and regulate our breasts? There are FAR bigger issues to deal with than this and encroaching on women’s freedom like this is disgusting. But I’m not at all surprised – it’s Conservative mandate to systematically dismantle and divide, starting with the poor.

I guess we should have all seen this coming, really.

Two Festive Looks from Next Maternity Wear

With Christmas right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to wear over the festive season. Getting bigger means that comfort is important, but I’d still like to be able to look glam too, so when the lovely people at Next sent me two outfits, one glam and one comfy, to keep me going over the Christmas period. Here are my outfit plans:
Comfy Maternity Wear

GLAM

Maternity Glam

I’m so pleased that I can dress up or down over Christmas, and the stress of finding something to wear is well and truly removed, which will make the festive season so much easier for me.
What do you think of my choices?
(I was provided with two tops and two pairs of trousers for the purposes of the review, the accessories were not provided and I received no other payment for this post)

Maternity Wear from Zalando

Today is the first time that I’ve really felt like I have a bump. People have remarked on my shape and I keep insisting it’s mainly just fat, but according to my nearest and dearest I absolutely look pregnant. I’m still wearing a lot of my normal clothes, but it’s getting to a point where I’m having to think about maternity clothes. Luckily, a while ago the lovely people at Zalando gave me the chance to choose some maternity wear from their range. These were my choices:

Zalando Maternity Wear

Mama Licious LEO Jumper – grey  – £29.00

Esprit Maternity Slim fit jeans – £50.00

Esprit Maternity Long sleeved top – black – £16.00

Mama Licious TIPPY – Basic T-shirt – white – £10.00

The jumper comes up quite large, so it’s not really an ‘early’ maternity item – it will, however, come into its own once I have an enormous bump and the item itself is actually really good quality and really stylish. Weirdly, the white shirt (which, once you receive is isn’t actually white at all, it’s an off-white with tiny flecks of bright pink and orange in it) is the same brand as the t-shirt and actually comes up tiny in sizing. The XL is supposed to be large enough to fit a size 18, but it was a real squeeze to get it on, even before I has a bump and certainly did not accomodate my bosom!

Positively though, the jeans are amazing – I’ve been wearing them for a couple of weeks because even though I don’t feel like I have a huge bump, I do have that weird internal pressure feeling you get when you’re pregnant and I’m not a fan of the feeling of a waistband pressing into my tummy. The jeans have a brilliant soft panel at the front, as well as elastic pull-in adjusters at the sides of the jeans, which means I can pull them all the way in to wear now, and then let them out as I get gradually bigger. They’re so comfortable, I get the feeling I’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of these jeans when the baby’s about 2 years old!

I love the black long-sleeved t-shirt too; the material is really thick and stretchy and will definitely accommodate a growing bump. It’s perfect for layering (I’ve been wearing it under a gilet, seeing as it’s been so mild for October) and looks great with my jeans and a pair of boots.

Last time I was pregnant, maternity wear seemed frumpy and over-priced, but this time around just 5 short years later, it seems like retailers have really upped their game when it comes to providing for pregnant women – and I for one couldn’t be happier!

Thanks so much to Zalando for the clothes and to you for reading.

babyhuddle List of the Day!

A list of maternity essentials that I created for babyhuddle has been featured as list of the day and I thought you lot might like to have a look.

“Pregnancy Essentials” on Babyhuddle