Today I caught up with my lovely One to One Midwife Jo for my 34 week catch up. Little Monkey is now facing the right way and its head is facing down ready to be engaged. Such a relief as previously our little one was back to back. Baby’s heartbeat was also perfect and Jo described it as a ‘happy baby’, which brought a huge smile to my face.
I however didn’t pass with flying colours. My blood pressure has increased, therefore I need to monitored on a weekly basis. Preeclampsia is a concern in pregnant women and Jo wants to ensure I don’t develop this disorder.
Pre-eclampsia is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and large amounts of protein in the urine.
In some cases, further symptoms can develop, including:
- swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands caused by fluid retention (oedema)
- severe headache
- vision problems
- pain just below the ribs
Jo has asked me to keep an eye out for the above symptoms and call her if I have any concerns. Fingers and toes crossed my blood pressure doesn’t creep up further. Thankfully my urine sample came back normal.
Further to my usual routine check, Jo gave me some tips to help support my pending labour.
Drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf tea contains the alkaloid ‘fragine’ which is said to strengthen and tone the muscles of the uterus, helping them to contract more efficiently during labour. Research has found that taking raspberry leaf during the weeks prior to delivery helps to shorten the second stage of labour by making contractions more effective. Some studies have also found that it reduces the need for an assisted delivery (i.e. an emergency cesarean or use of forceps or ventouse).
Jo has advised that I start with one cup of the tea a day and work my way up to 2 cups as I near my due date. I had my first brew yesterday and unfortunately the english breakfast like taste brought back memories of my early morning sickness. However I will keep it up, the benefits outweigh the taste.
|Raspberry Leaf Tea – Holland & Barrett|
Oxytocin & Releasing those Happy Endorphins
Oxytocin is often known as the “hormone of love” because it is involved with lovemaking, fertility, contractions during labour and birth, and the release of milk in breastfeeding. It helps us feel good, and it triggers nurturing feelings and behaviours.
Rather than wait for labour to get my Oxytocin boost, Jo advised I need to start building this hormone up now. She advised nightly massages from my husband (honestly, every night) and stimulating my nipples. Using a lovely oil, she advised he massaged my body, however to keep away from the bump.
Massaging the perineum – the area between the vagina and anus – in the last weeks of pregnancy has been shown to reduce the likelihood of tearing during birth, and of needing stitches or an episiotomy. You can do it alone, or your partner can do it with or for you.
Here’s how to do a perineal massage:
Get comfortable, lying against some pillows on the bed, with your legs bent at the knees so you or your partner can reach your perineum.
Massage oil (preferably vegetable-based) into the skin of the perineum using fingers and thumbs.
Then place your fingers around 5cm (2 inches) inside your vagina and press downwards towards the anus; move to each side in a U-shaped stretching movement. This may give a tingling/burning sensation.
Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds then release.
So between releasing oxytocin, stimulating my nipples and massaging the perineal, my husband is in for his own 50 shades of preparation x