“VBAC” the possible future after cesarean

Before I start writing my blog I would like to inform all of my readers that these are just my opinions that I have formulated after doing some extensive research. Of course, I encourage my readers to question my thoughts and make their own decisions.

I wanted to discuss VBAC. What is that? It’s vaginal birth after C-section. Something that many women either don’t know about or think it’s a taboo. Interestingly C-section has become seen as something easy as getting a bikini wax. Many women now opt for a C-section even if they are not required to have one. Why? It’s a procedure that many women see as less fearful than vaginal delivery. It doesn’t only make it easier on the doctor but also on the mom to be able to plan it, go in and then have the baby after 15 minutes. Nobody mentions the long term effects. First of all, C-section is still a surgery. As with all surgeries there are risks. There are risks for moms as well as for the baby. Now we have to look at the other side. Some C-sections are necessary and they do save the mom and the baby, but some can be avoided. If the mom and the baby are healthy and there are no risk factors indicating for a C-section, mothers should weigh the risks and benefits of having surgery. Did you know the use of a vacuum can still be used on your baby’s head to pull them out during a C-section if the doctor can’t get the baby out? If you have a choice, then it’s best to choose one that will benefit you and your baby. Unfortunately, there are several things that the baby won’t get if there is a C-section, such as the first interaction laying on the mom’s chest for the first few hours. Also, when a woman has a C-section the baby will not be exposed to bacteria that are very important for the baby’s health that the baby gets from traveling through the birth canal. The bacteria mentioned have been linked to help develop a stronger immune system.

“Kozyrskyj noted that previous studies have shown that infants born by cesarean delivery are at increased risk of asthma, food allergies, celiac disease and type 1 diabetes (in which the immune system destroys the body’s insulin-producing cells). These children are also face an elevated risk of obesity – which might be related to the mix of gut bacteria that aid food digestion and the absorption of nutrients from the intestines” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health-navigator/c-section-babies-missing-crucial-gut-bacteria-study-finds/article8440728/).

However, moms who start breastfeeding also expose their infants to good bacteria that will help establish their good gut flora. In no way am I trying to make moms who had C-sections feel guilty but I am trying to point out the difference between a needed C-section and a preferred C-section. What happened to the phrase emergency C-section?  A mom should make her birth the way she envisions it, yet at the same time make sure it’s a safe option for both.  If you do have a choice and a say during your birth process, C-sections may not always be the best option. All moms are amazing equally no matter how the baby came into this world. There are informed decisions to be made and moms should be educated! Did you know that VBAC is a choice for many women?

“Approximately 60-80% of appropriate candidates who attempt VBAC will be successful. A VBAC avoids major abdominal surgery, lowers a woman’s risk of hemorrhage and infection, and shortens postpartum recovery. It may also help women avoid the possible future risks of having multiple cesareans such as hysterectomy, bowel and bladder injury, transfusion, infection, and abnormal placenta conditions (placenta previa and placenta accreta).

“Based on the best available evidence, the NIH concluded that VBAC was a safe and reasonable option for women with a prior cesarean section. The NIH expert panel recommended that physicians, hospitals, insurers, and policy makers should work together to increase access to VBAC”

http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm

Did you know that the greatest fear of VBAC is uterine rupture? Here are the stats on that:

“The risk of scar separation is about 0.5 percent, or 1 in 200 VBAC labors, and is somewhat higher in women who have had more than one cesarean. With careful monitoring of the fetal heart rate and observation of the mother, however, a scar separation can usually be detected in time for a cesarean to be performed and the separation mended” (Simkin 322).

Fear is definitely a big factor and mothers who decide to have a VBAC should have great support system surrounding them. Doulas, Midwives, Childbirth educators, and different websites can be great resources as well as a supportive medical team and family members. The mind plays a great part in determining how a VBAC will result and women need to be prepared not only physically but emotionally as well.

Some benefits of VBAC as stated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

-No abdominal surgery

-Shorter recovery period

-Lower risk of infection

-Less blood loss

*VBAC may help with problems that result from multiple C-sections such as hysterectomy, bowel and bladder injury, and certain problems with the placenta.

If you are having a second child and had the first one by C-section, discuss it with your doctor and see if VBAC is an option for you. Birth is such a beautiful process, whether your baby is delivered by C-section, using an epidural, or naturally doesn’t matter. As long as your baby is here with you in your arms happy and healthy that’s all that matters. As long as you are happy with how your birth went. After having my first baby, even though I had tons of good information, I still didn’t have enough. I didn’t have enough information to have that power to say no to things. One incident I can recall is when they wanted a blood pressure cuff on my arm no matter what, even though I didn’t have high blood pressure and my baby was fine. It stressed me out and I was so uncomfortable. I wish I had that knowledge to ask questions and to say no if it wasn’t necessary. Education and information are always important key factors so keep updated on the new studies about birth!

Resources:

http://evidencebasedbirth.com/

Here’s a great website discussing myths about VBAC: http://vbacfacts.com/13-myths-about-vbac/

http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm

The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

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Blueberry Pancakes for Breakfast!

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 Feeling under the weather I got to stay home with my little one and cook him blueberry pancakes! It was fast and easy. All you need is coconut oil, a choice of milk (we use hemp milk), and blueberries! I bought a pre-made mix from Mother’s market (an organic/ natural store) and tossed him some blended blueberries. I loved hearing him say “MMMMMMMMMM” and laugh when I asked him if he liked it. My favorite part was when he asked for seconds!

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POSTPARTUM TALK #2 (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

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         In honor of upcoming Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about relationships. It’s an important issue. Did you know about 70 percent of couples are dissatisfied with their marriage postpartum? Those are pretty crazy statistics! Many factors have to do with feeling exhausted and adapting to the new lifestyle. Having a newborn isn’t easy. Sleepless nights, trying to balance the household, and hormones levels going hay wired. You and your husband are the foundation to your new little family and you cannot raise a child together if you’re not on the same page. Times might be hard but you need to make time for you and your loved one to spend together apart from your baby.

        Unfortunately, my husband and I didn’t have such a big support system as we live far away from family members so we would enjoy time together walking with our baby. Luckily, my mom would come to visit every month and then that would be date night for us. Change it up and plan something fun when you go out. You need to always keep that spark in your relationship. It’s true when they say once you light that candle you have to keep that flame burning. Even if you’re a new mom dress up, put make up on, and go out. I remember the first date I had with my husband postpartum. We went to our favorite sushi place and then we wanted to go bowling. It was definitely difficult to leave our baby, but he was in good hands with his grandma. Not only that but since I was breastfeeding every two hours it made it more difficult. After a nice dinner filled with amazing sushi and green tea ice cream I had to pump in the car. It’s a funny moment that we shared but you have to do what you have to do sometimes.

Your baby is the number one focus but you still need to put time into your relationship with your loved one. So take one weekend night off a month and have a good time. Even if it’s a dinner at home followed by your favorite Russian talk show called “Davay Pazhenemsa” or translated into English “let’s get married.” We have a ball laughing. My husband has pretty funny commentary. Watching that show without him is just not the same. Make something ‘your thing’ that you share.

  It’s definitely hard to feel sexy after you just had a baby. Embrace post-partum as you did pregnancy. Your body just went through a lot. Give it time to recover. It took me a whole year and I am just getting slowly back to normal. Spice up your wardrobe with that sexy lingerie or just an outfit that makes you feel good. Get your nails done. Get a haircut. Sexy is all about feeling good from the inside. Put on some heels! I am just starting to fit into all of my heels and it makes a big difference than just wearing flats. Dress up and go out with your partner!

              Do something fun! I can’t wait to surprise my husband on Friday. He doesn’t know it yet but we’re doing something different. We cut the traditional restaurant thing but we’re still going to do something special. Something that we’ve done way back when we first started dating. Keep posted for my update on the surprise. Keep your relationship fun, intimate, and loving. You are the foundation. Be strong together. Be sexy for him. Postpartum brings a lot of new challenges and keeping a rock hard foundation is crucial. As a good friend once told me, “it’s you and him against the world.”

Happy Valentine’s day to all my readers!:)

 

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What’s for lunch?

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Butternut squash soup for us and our little one. Cooked separately of course because we don’t yet add spices to our one year old’s food. We also buy only organic food for him. It’s simple and easy to make!

Butternut squash soup for your baby

Boil pieces of butternut squash in a small pot.Make sure not to use too much water when boiling because you want to make a creamy soup. Add as much water to slightly cover the butternut squash pieces.

When it is soft, transfer everything into a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Add back into the pot and boil on low heat. Add baby sweet potatoes. Boil until they are tender.

Cook time varies but is approximately 15 minutes.

For our soup I did exactly the same thing except I added spices. You can add turmeric, sea salt, pepper, and curry powder for flavor.

Enjoy with your little one! 🙂

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What’s your toddler drinking?

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Before my son turned one I gradually started to wean him off of breast milk by reducing the number of feedings each day. I didn’t know what I would supplement the night feeding with. As a Chiropractic student I have learned a lot about dairy products and how they aren’t as good for you as the industry portrays it. I’ve heard about how milk has a bad effect on many toddlers. Some experience dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. I definitely did not want my son to go through that but I was raised that milk is good for your body. Weren’t we all raised like that? Milk is thought to be an essential part of your diet. Not anymore. Research studies have shown that milk can actually be a bad thing. In a published research review, Francesco Maria Ergo writes in “Why is type 1 diabetes increasing” about how animal studies have confirmed the theory that cow’s milk is linked to diabetes.

“In fact, Johnston & Monte (2000) demonstrated that early ingestion of cow’s milk formula increased the incidence of diabetes in BB rats. They noticed acceleration in the development of the disease and a significant decrease in the mean age of onset. But what makes cow’s milk a triggering factor? A variety of studies have reported the association between antibodies against five major proteins present in cow’s milk (caseins, α-lactalbumin, γ-globulin, albumin and hormonal constituents) and the development of type 1 diabetes, but anti-BSA antibodies are the ones showing the highest disease specificity” (Egro).

In my college days I worked as a research assistant in a type 1 diabetes lab at UCSF. Little did I know how bad cow’s milk can be and how negatively it can affect one’s body.

So what’s next? Before knowing the link to diabetes but still thinking about the digestive issues, my husband and I sat down and discussed the pros and cons about cow’s milk.  We didn’t want our son to be the odd one out and we wanted him to get all the right nutrients. Milk is a common product to give to a toddler so we thought why not? So we decided to give our son organic whole milk. I urge you if you cannot buy all organic food, the one important product to buy organic is milk. You do not want to give your kids milk containing hormones and antibiotics. A link to the article is posted below which discusses how cows are injected with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone so they can produce more milk. Due to that these cows end up getting mastitis from the increased milk production and are put on antibiotics. My yoga teacher once said how regular milk is now a poison in our country. It’s unfortunate but true, you do not want to give your child milk full of hormones that may cause cancer in the future. So the word organic on your milk box is definitely important.

After several weeks of having milk bottles my son began to have symptoms that I’ve heard to watch out for. Yup, full blown diarrhea. At twelve months he sleeps through the night most of the time (knock on wood so it doesn’t stop), but this was different! He woke up two hours after I put him to sleep. I really thought it was odd so I went to check on him. He pooped his diaper and was crying so hard. It sounded like a pain cry. As a mom you know it, you can tell the difference between cries. And this was only from having 2 ounces of milk, boiled, and diluted with two ounces of water. He doesn’t have a milk or dairy allergy, milk just upsets his tummy. It is not only so important to have something that contains so many vitamins and good fats in a toddlers diet but something that soothes him to sleep as well. Since I used to breast feed him right before bed we had to transition to something else before bed and milk wasn’t cutting it. We switched to hemp milk, and no he will not get high from it. Hemp milk is such a great alternative; it contains the right amount of nutrients without the upsetting of the tummy. It has more fat than any of the other alternatives to milk such as almond, soy, and rice milk. Fat is important for a toddler as they are developing their brains. We bought him unsweetened vanilla hemp milk and he loves the taste. Current research links the consumption of milk to type 1 diabetes, as well as iron deficiencies. Of course as with anything consult with your pediatrician if you have any doubts or special nutrient needs your baby may have. We choose hemp milk, what your’s toddler drinking?

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http://livingmaxwell.com/organic-milk-the-most-important-organic-product-to-buy

http://jme.endocrinology-journals.org/content/51/1/R1.long

You can also make your own hemp milk at home! http://mywholefoodlife.com/2013/02/14/homemade-hemp-milk/

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BREASTFEEDING TIPS

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So my breastfeeding experience did not start out so great. Unfortunately, I had a horrible postpartum nurse. I was producing colostrum for the first two days. This was day one and she kept insisting to bring him a bottle of formula. Do you know how frustrating that is for a first time mom? I was trying to get a hang of breastfeeding while a nurse was trying to stick a bottle down my baby’s throat. It was unfortunate but true. Babies eat very little the first few days since their tummies are so small. As women we need to be confident in our capabilities. Our bodies are built a certain way to provide for our baby and the pressure of society sometimes trick our minds into thinking we can’t provide. I sent that nurse out the door. There was no way that my baby was going to have formula. I wanted to breastfeed. She kept putting pressure on me to produce more milk. Breastfeeding has an emotional component. If you are stressed about your milk production or anything else, your production will drop.

When I went back to school my milk fluctuated. I was stressed not only from school work but also because I was away from my baby all day. I was determined to keep breastfeeding and keep my milk supply up. One of my friend’s brought me some of the milk tea packets and it worked like a charm. I drank the tea about twice a day. It’s not the most tasty tea I’ve had, but I wasn’t drinking it for me but for my baby.

Having a breastfeeding support system is essential. We went to a lactation specialist for help the next day. My friends and family were supportive of it and kept me going. I remember my one friend that brought me the milk tea packets how she encouraged me to keep going. She had a good strategy. She told me to get through the first three months and then see how I felt. Little did I know after three months I would get a hang of it and it would be so much easier. Then after the three months I just thought about pushing through another three months. At six months its so much easier when you can start incorporating food. I made it through a year that way and I actually now miss it. I am thankful to her for giving me that push. I am thankful to my mom who encouraged me to breastfeed but never put that pressure on me if I couldn’t follow through. You need a supportive system postpartum especially if you’re going to breastfeed.

I highly recommend lactation tea. Earth’s Mama Milkmaid tea really worked for me. It contains Fenugreek which is an herb that stimulates an increase in breast milk production. Do not drink a lot of the tea because Fenugreek may also cause gassiness or bloating in your baby. Here’s a link if you would like to find out more about Fenugreek and how it might affect your baby: http://www.livestrong.com/article/132694-side-effects-fenugreek-baby/

The tea worked well for me as well as this homemade recipe:

I call it “SF FOG”

1/2 cup of decaf early grey tea

1/2 cup of milk (I like to use vanilla almond milk)

*if using regular milk add 2 teaspoons of honey or sugar

mix it together and drink up!

enjoy a light snack with the tea: 2 handfuls of raw almonds

Other tips:

keep hydrated and munch on healthy snacks throughout the day! Drink more than 8 cups of water per day.

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Sweet Cravings

As I sit here sipping my “Earth Mama’s No More Milk” tea, I recall my experiences with breastfeeding. I just weaned my son two days ago. Wow was it a struggle, no not for him but for me. I miss our bonding time. I’m happy to know that some moms are able to breastfeed as long as they can, but for me it wasn’t an option. With twelve hour work days, breastfeeding had to go. I plug my nose and drink up hoping not to taste the strong hint of peppermint. My milk will be all gone soon. My little one is a toddler now, and not as dependent on me as before.

Breastfeeding is a hard job, but I love it. It fills you with so many emotions and brings your little one and you closer. The love hormone, Oxytocin, plays a big part in that. Even though, breastfeeding is different on everyone’s body, for me it was something that didn’t allow me to lose any weight.  People say that you shed pounds incredibly fast while breastfeeding but that wasn’t the case for me. I also had such a hard time eating healthy when I just had my baby. I was in a dilemma. I wanted to lose weight but also be able to produce enough milk so we wouldn’t have to use formula. Being a mom that just went back to a full time school schedule, it was very difficult. Somehow eating a lot of food correlated with producing more milk. I am happy to find out that it’s not just my body reacting that way. After discussing breastfeeding with other moms I found out that they too had the same problem. During breastfeeding I would just get really thirsty and hungry. The breastfeeding weight loss program that everyone keeps talking about didn’t work for me.  Now I have gained insight to keep healthy snacks nearby while breastfeeding.

Did you know that the food you eat will affect your baby? Whenever I ate cabbage my baby would cry for three hours non-stop and his tummy was gassy. Most veggies were out of the question unfortunately. Green beans, garlic, onions, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage can make a small baby gassy. Trust me it’s true! I can recall my first mother’s day, my husband decided to surprise me with some Russian food. It was a little restaurant by the beach where I just finished my pediatrics seminar across the street. In the excitement of Russian food, I forgot and ate Borsche. Borsche is a soup filled with lots of veggies including shredded cabbage. Not soon after I breastfeed my little one and we headed back home did the three hour session of crying start. He usually didn’t have crying fits but this one was bad. We paced room to room to find a solution. Carried him, rubbed his belly, put a warm compress on it, and soothed him. Nothing helped until a couple of hours later.

So what can you eat during breastfeeding? Good healthy options are steaming some veggies that won’t upset your baby’s tummy such as asparagus, carrots, and zucchini. Green morning smoothies are a good option (see recipe below). All types of salads are a great option as well. My favorite became the Greek salad. I honestly craved sweets during my early breastfeeding months like a madman. It was so difficult to focus eating healthy. I wanted chocolate all the time! Cocoa powder was another option that I tried and put it into my shakes but it wasn’t the best choice for me it tasted a little strange. My favorite sweet was cottage cheese with either melon or strawberry jam. A good option is to also make sure that you are getting enough vegetables in your diet. If you fill up on 3 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit it will be really filling and you won’t crave sweets. I know that’s what I will do next pregnancy. What are your healthy alternatives?

MY GREEN MORNING JUICE:

Handful of Kale,  handful of spinach, 1 carrot, half a cup of blueberries, 3 strawberries, ½ cucumber, hint of lemon, hint of ginger. Shake it and drink up!

MY GREEN MACHINE SMOOTHIE:

Same ingredients as above but compile everything in a blender instead of a juicer. Add one cup of either coconut milk or almond milk.

HEALTHY SNACK:  Kale chips

Rinse kale and dry it.

Put it on a baking sheet spread with coconut oil and sprinkle some olive oil and sea salt

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown

Eat up!

Look out for how to increase breast milk production in my next blog.

Happy Wednesday to all my readers!

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