Morning sickness is one of the most well-known early pregnancy symptoms. It’s the reason you’ve probably gotten accused of being pregnant when you were just sick, but now you are feeling queasy, nauseous, and overly sensitive to smells. While morning sickness is common, there are many things you can try to alleviate the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer; what works for you may be a bit of trial and error. But there are some common ways people find relief.
Adjusting your eating habits may help keep nausea from happening in the first place. Eating a high protein diet can help reduce nausea. Many people also find that making sure to keep something in your stomach, often eating several small meals throughout the day, can help keep nausea from overtaking you. Many people keep a simple snack, like saltine crackers, next to their bed and eat them before moving or getting out of bed. If you are having difficulties with your appetite, try not to stress too much about what you’re eating. Focus on eating something whenever you can. You can also try taking your prenatal vitamin at night if you find it upsets your stomach. A gummy prenatal may also be gentler on the stomach and not trigger or exacerbate your nausea.
Be mindful of anything you find that triggers your nausea and do what you can to avoid it! Certain smells, even things you loved before, can become overwhelming as your sense of smell is often much stronger during pregnancy. Keeping cool can also help, as a warm humid environment can increase your tendency to nausea.
If you’re still having difficulties with nausea, there are some simple home remedies you can try. Most common things to try are peppermint and ginger. Tea and/or hard candies can be extremely helpful, just make sure anything with ginger has real ginger in it. If that doesn’t work, some people also find more sour things like lemon or hard candies like Jolly Ranchers helpful. The great thing about these remedies is they are pretty simple to add into your life and don’t tend to garner too much suspicion if you’re trying to keep your pregnancy under wraps.
If these home-remedies don’t work, you can try buying products marketed to ease the discomfort of morning sickness. Preggy pops makes lollipops and hard candies that are made with natural ingredients that are supposed to help with morning sickness. Pink Stork makes teas and candies to combat first trimester discomfort. While created and marketed for sea sickness, Sea Bands can also combat nausea.
If you still need more help, talk with your care provider about using B6 vitamin with unisom. Most people take this at night as unisom can tend to make you sleepy, but the combination can help you feel much better. Just make sure to use unisom tablets and not gels, as the active ingredients are different.
And if nothing seems to help, it can just be comforting to know that the major symptoms of morning sickness tend to subside when you enter the second trimester, around 12 or 13 weeks. However, if you have extreme morning sickness, characterized by extreme nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration, medications like Zofran may be prescribed, though benefits and risks should be weighed for each person’s individual experiences.
Did you use any of these options for morning sickness? What worked best for you. Leave a comment below!
Covid-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty to the world, especially to those who are pregnant and about to give birth. With ever changing protocols and hospital rules, it can add extra stress during an already vulnerable time. While support may look different during this pandemic, a doula can still be an important part of your birth team and can help you get the support and birth you are hoping for. I’ve put together some information about what doula support might look like, even during a pandemic.
Why Hire a Doula
Doula support is valuable in many different ways, and a lot of it is even before labor begins. Hiring a doula means prenatal support, often in the form of prenatal meetings. During these meetings, I discuss the birth process, options for your birth, and help sort through what your birth preferences are, often resulting in a formal or informal birth plan. These meetings also go through individualized comfort measures and can help you and your partner better at communicating and working together during labor.
This support lasts beyond our one on one meetings too. You can contact me for any questions that come up from appointments, strange things you experience, or any ideas that occur to you. I love researching and sending on any information on procedures, birth options, or anything else you may want to learn more about but might be worried about Googling yourself. I’ve also been keeping up with the latest hospital protocols regarding COVID-19 as well as keeping up with the ACOG and other medical body’s recommendations and research regarding pregnancy and COVID.
Doula support for labor also has a myriad of benefits during labor. As your doula, I work for you and am looking out for your interests, not the doctor or hospital’s. As someone trained in common procedures that may come up during birth, I can assist you in asking questions to make informed decisions as your labor unfolds. With some technological support, I can still provide continuous support during labor, versus the changes of hospital staff and intermittent check-ins from your medical care provider.
There is also a lot of research evidence that supports better outcomes for labors that use doula support. Some of these benefits include a dramatic decrease in c-sections, fewer medical interventions, decrease use of medications for pain relief, and better newborn APGAR scores. More importantly, doula supported births are shorter on average and have a higher percentage of satisfaction with the birthing experience. For more information about research regarding doula, check out Evidence Based Birth’s article on doula support.
Support During Covid
I have been offering virtual doula services since I began my business, so luckily a lot of this isn’t new for me. While things might not be ideal, there is still a lot I can do remotely if that is safest or necessary for your situation. Prenatals can be done via video chat and phone, text, and email help is already remote.
Labor support is highly dependent on the person, situation, and location of delivery. For local clients, I can include in person support at your home for early labor or if you are planning a homebirth. Depending on the hospital or birth center policies at the time of your delivery or your support person preference, I may be able to accompany you to your chosen place of delivery. If this is not possible, I can continue to support you and your partner via phone, video, or text support in whatever way you prefer. While this may sound inadequate, there is a lot I can tell about birth from just listening and watching. Early labor can also be a great time for me to see what you respond to in labor and help your partner in some hands on training in how best to help you. While working this partner coaching is not unique to virtual support, it is much more important during virtual labor support.
I also offer a 100% virtual support package. This package looks very similar to the in person labor support, except every part is planned to be remote, including prenatal meetings, labor support, and the postpartum meeting. Much like above, I can show and talk your labor support person through physical comfort measures and provide emotional and informational support through your labor as it unfolds. This has the advantage of me not having to drive to you or back home during your labor, so I can maintain the same support throughout your entire labor without interruptions.
My newest package is birth preparation. This includes the prenatal meetings, unlimited phone and email support and the postpartum meeting. This package is great for people that need extra help in sorting through their birth options and would like support throughout their pregnancy and into labor but don’t necessarily want labor support or to deal with the extra technological issues that may be a part of the birth process right now. This package does not include being on call to be immediately accessible during your labor, though I will answer questions if I am available.
If nothing seems to perfectly fit your birth needs, I am happy to work with you to create a unique birth package for your needs, including birth only plans, sibling doula for home and birth center births or other birth needs you may have.
Having a baby is stressful. Having a job is stressful. The first time you combine working after you have a baby can compound these stressors into one of the most worrying transitions in a person’s life that can cast a shadow over your precious maternity leave. But the return back to work doesn’t have to be so stressful with some prenatal preparation and a plan in place. Below are some of my top tips for returning to work.
Be confident in your childcare choices
There are so many different childcare options, it can be hard to know what is the right choice for you and your family. Exploring your options before you give birth and having a solid plan can really put your mind at ease as your return to work draws near. There are many different ways to make sure your baby is loved and well cared for such as working off hours from your partner, have family watch your child, home-based daycare, or center-based daycare. You can also hire a nanny to come to your home to watch your child or send your child with a fellow parent to watch while you work. Exploring several options through interviews or tours of different facilities may take a lot of time and effort, but you’ll likely feel much better about your choice if you’ve seen many options before making your final choice.
Take the extras to your chosen childcare
If you’re childcare is outside your home, you’ll have a lot of extras things to make your baby’s transition as smooth as possible. Dropping these things off ahead of time will make that first day feel less rushed and more smooth. The following items can easily be taken to your care provider a few days before you begin care:
Extra formula or frozen milk (check your care provider’s policy on how much and how long they can store consumables)
Finger food and snacks (if you’re starting with an older baby who is already eating solids)
Extra clothes (at least 2 sets)
Weather appropriate outside clothes (sun hat, sunscreen, winter hat, mittens…)
Any other comfort item for your child (pacifyer, favorite toy, blanket, etc).
Bringing these items in advanced also gives you a buffer day in case you forgot an item or realize you need to buy extras to stay with your care provider. This extra time will also help you talk to your care provider about any policies or procedures you may want more information about regarding the care of your child.
Finally, don’t forget to label all items before sending them to a care facility that may have many children with the same or similar items. Permanent marker is easy for consumable products like wipes or disposable diaper packages. Marking clothing tags or using stick-on labels can make less permanent marks for items that may be used if you have multiple children or wish to preserve resale value of some items.
Ease your way into a routine
A day or two before your actual first work day, a practice half day, can be a perfect way to ease yourself and your child into your new routine. Practice getting up and seeing how much extra time it takes to get ready and out the door. If possible, take your child for a half day with your childcare provider. Your practice day can gives you time to say goodbye to your child without feeling rushed or distracted by work start times. If you realize there are extra things you still need for childcare, you have some time to run to the store to pick up these last minute items. If you are planning to pump at work, this can also give you some practice with your pump to see how long set up, pump time, and clean up takes. I’d also suggest wearing your work and pump gear so you can work through potential problems without feeling guilty for missing work time.
Other possibilities to make the transition back to work less abrupt can be actually working half-days for the first week or two. It’s much easier to manage being away from your child for four or five hours and work your way up to eight or nine hours instead of starting with the nine hours right away. It can also be helpful to start back to work on a Thursday or Friday (or whatever day comes before your day/s off). It’s much easier to manage a few days knowing you’re going to have a weekend to reconnect with your child than to start off with a long, full week of work.
For pumping at work: have a pumping plan and practice
Nothing is worse than needing to pump, fumbling trying to get all the parts together, and working to figure out how to your new, unfamiliar pump turns on. Your breasts are swollen, heavy, and tender, but you just can’t seem to get it right.
Before you return to work, you should look through your pump’s manual and follow any cleaning instructions necessary prior to first use (many require sterilizing some parts before first use). You should also check that your flanges fit your breasts correctly. Most breastpumps come with medium sized flanges, but small and large sizes are available with most models, and having the right size can make a HUGE difference on milk output.
Practicing actually using your pump a few times at home when your baby is close can also help you find and correct any issues without being separated from your baby for hours at a time. This practice will also help you build up a stash of milk to ease the pressure to pump enough while you’re getting the hang of your routine. Wear your usual work attire (at least tops), so you can see how easily accessible the clothes you have are with pumping as well as practice using any hands-free pumping bras you might have. There are many options to when is the best time to practice. You can try pumping both breasts directly after any (or many) feeds. Or, after a feed, when you baby is napping, pump using just the last breast your baby nursed on (aim for a time you think will be a longer nap). When baby wakes up, use your unpumped breast to feed first. If building your supply and stash is your main need and concern, milk production is highest in the early morning hours, especially middle of the night, so adding an extra pumping session in the morning will give you more than an evening pumping session. I wouldn’t, however, recommend you make 3AM your first practice pump! Remember that the amount of milk you get pumping is not the same as the amount of milk your baby is taking in, especially if your added extra pumps in if your baby is still feeding 100% from you. It is very common to pump less than an ounce until you are actually replacing meals with pumping sessions.
For pumping while you are working, plan to pump at least as often as your baby will be eating while you are away, especially as you are just getting your pumping rhythm going. You will likely want to pump every two to four hours, depending on how old your baby is and how responsive you are to your pump. You should attempt to have a plan for where to pump before you return to work. If you don’t know where you can go, talk to your boss or other people in the office that might have recently been pumping for their baby. There might be secret work spaces that you aren’t aware of that will be a nice private place to pump.
Depending on the flexibility of your work, you might need to get creative with pumping times. Pump during your lunchtime and any other breaks you have. If you can pump at your workspace, you might only need to pause briefly to set up and clean up in between continuing to work. If you are having difficulty keeping up with your child’s needs, you can try pumping on your commute if your pump has a battery option or car adapter. If you still can’t keep up, you could try extra pump sessions at home or during the weekend or supplement with formula (breastfeeding and pumping doesn’t have to be all or nothing).
You’ll also need a storage and cleanup plan for your milk. Using a community fridge or mini fridge works well for storing milk pumped while at work. You can also get small coolers made specifically for breastmilk (many fit your pump bottle perfectly) with ice packs, which can safely store milk for up to 24 hours before needing to be transferred to a fridge or freezer.
With some preparation and planning, your return to work can go smoother than you ever imagined. If you’re still worried about your specific circumstances, schedule a free consultation or look into the back to work planning and support package.
I had my first child almost five years ago while I was living and working in Japan. I didn’t know anyone in my city that had given birth recently, so I took to the internet to find pregnancy and birth information in a language I clearly understood. I also wanted and found emotional support from fellow pregnant people in online forums and eventually in a small due-date group that is still an integral part of my parenting support team.
It was through these groups that I really understood what a birth doula does, and I was so upset that I wouldn’t be able to have one. Even if there was a practicing birth doula in my city, I had no idea how to find her, and it would be unlikely that she would speak English. So I went without, and muddled through learning about pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period on my own while simultaneously trying to inform my husband on what he would need to know for the birth as well. It went OK, but after a much more informed and relaxing experience with the birth of my second child, I knew how different it could have been, and I know working with a doula could have made a huge difference as part of my preparation and plan for my first birth.
When I began my doula training, I learned about so many different fields and services that different doulas offered. One of the more unique ideas was providing E-Doula services, and I immediately knew it was a service I was going to offer.
An E-Doula provides many of the same services as an in-person doula, but offers these services through video conferencing, text, and e-mail. This service is perfect for someone who lives in a rural area, those living in a foreign country, or someone that may not be comfortable inviting someone to their birth space but is looking for more personal informational or emotional support than a childbirth education class would offer. Below are some details of what E-Doula Services look like.
Most doula services include several prenatal meetings. During these meetings, doulas provide informational about your birth options and guidance and support for creating a birth preferences list to help you achieve your ideal birth. A doula also educations and supports you and your labor partner’s understanding of what birth looks like and how to cope with changes your body goes through. An E-Doula can provide these same services over video conferencing. She can support and train your labor partner to be your biggest supporter through your labor so you all enter into labor confident in your knowledge and skills.
Late pregnancy is also a time of excitement as you make the final preparations for your new arrival. It’s also a time of uncertainty as you wonder if each twinge is a sign that baby is ready to come. A doula often works as your emotional support through the end of your pregnancy, giving you a sympathetic ear as you worry about being pregnant forever or when you need someone to remind you it’s OK to slow down and take care of yourself. A doula is also armed with up-to-date information to give tips and tricks to deal with any pregnancy concerns as they arise. An e-doula is no different from a traditional doula, offering unlimted emotional and informational support through e-mail, text messaging, and phone calls.
During labor is where E-Doula support really starts to look different. While an E-Doula can’t show up to support you physically through labor, she can be on call for anything you need or questions you or your labor partners might have. Video conferencing is also an option during labor to give you and your doula a good picture of what is happening and can give0 suggestions and help to you or your partner. Your doula is a great option to have someone to call for a quick adjustment when things don’t quite feel right and can guide you and your partner through the stages and phases of labor.
Finally, and E-Doula can help support you through the first few weeks of your newborn’s life. The transition to being a parent is a steep learning curve and can feel especially lonely and difficult if you live in an area without other parents of newborns to talk to. An E-Doula can provide needed emotional and informational support for all your needs postpartum. From something like umbilical stump care to a listening ear to process the birth experience, your E-Doula is just a text or phone call away.