Ever Wondered What Your Uterus and Cervix Are Up to Each Month?

Have you ever been curious as to what is actually happening in your reproductive system each month? Check out this 4½ minute animation of the cycle:

It is a brief explanation of the complexities of what happens in your body each month. You will be amazed at how intricate it all is – what extraordinary creatures we women are!

The Billings Ovulation Method® can help you to manage your fertility safely, successfully and naturally.

It is the most thoroughly researched method of regulating fertility available today – natural or artificial! Over 850,000 individual hormone assays and 25+ years of research into the role and function of the cervix in human fertility. Plus countless cycles of clinical study of women’s charts.

If you are interested in details of that research we can supply them, but probably you just want to know that it will work for you. And the best way to find that out is to give it a go. What have you got to lose?

The quickest and most efficient way to learn is to find your own individual, confidential tutor Franchesca Duval right here at Blue Lotus Fertility!

 

 

 

6 Reasons to Delay Your Babies First Bath

babes first bath

There are many reasons to consider not having your baby bathed in the first hours or even days after birth. Many hospitals seem to have an urgent need to have the baby bathed in the first hours after the newborn has been born, but as parents, you can make the decision on when to bathe your baby and who is the one to do it. There are several benefits to delaying baby’s first bath and you may reconsider when you would like it to happen after learning about the advantages of waiting. (Much of the research on bathing newborns is related to the preterm or low birth weight baby.)

  1. Babies are born with a natural skin protectantIn utero, babies are protected from their watery environment by a special substance called vernix, found on their skin. You may notice some vernix on your just born baby, it looks a bit like a white, waxy cream cheese, and some babies seem to have a lot and others not so much. Babies tend to lose the vernix the longer the mother is pregnant, so those babies born at 42 weeks might not have a lot of it visible anymore, though usually there is still some hidden in the folds of their skin and under their arms. Babies born earlier often have a larger amount. Newer research indicates that vernix has immune properties and leaving it on your baby’s skin provides a layer of protection while your new baby’s immune system is getting stronger. I think this is a great benefit especially for babies who are born in the hospital, with lots of potential for exposure to hospital-acquired infections. Vernix also is the best moisturizer ever and helps to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple. It’s important to note that the research is on the properties of the vernix but as of now there is no clinical data to prove this connection.Amniotic fluid, which bathed the baby before birth has the ability to provide some extra resistance to infection as well, so the longer it remains on the skin, the better for baby.
  2. Baby wants to be near momAfter birth, your newborn baby wants to be as close to you and your breasts as he can get. Snuggling on your chest, close to the food source, where he can hear you, smell you and feel you against his skin is a source of comfort for your new little one. Being close to your breasts can help encourage breastfeeding and support the baby making a smooth transition to life on the outside. Taking your baby away from you soon after birth for the purpose of a bath can disrupt the process of your baby getting to know you, feeling safe and secure, and interfere with those very important first feedings.Bathing-beauties-baby
  3. Lowered body temperature New babies are still figuring out how to maintain their own body temperature. Taking a baby away from his mother for a bath, may result in the baby working harder to keep their body temperature in the normal range. I have seen babies who need to be placed under the heat lamp to bring up their temperature after their bath. Mom’s chest is the perfect place to maintain baby’s temperature. A mother’s chest has the ability to heat up or cool down to help the baby stay at just the right temperature. Adding a bath into the mix just makes it harder for baby to maintain their body temperature.
  4. Keep stress hormones low and blood sugar normalBeing separated from her mother can add an additional layer of stress to a new baby just figuring out life on the outside. When your baby is taken from you to be bathed, she may cry, feel uncomfortable and upset. This causes her body to release stress hormones in response to this new situation. Her heart rate and blood pressure may go up, she may breathe a bit faster and become agitated. Working hard to respond to this stressful situation may also lower her blood sugar temporarily. If your baby’s blood sugar is being monitored due to mother’s gestational diabetes, or her size at birth, the baby’s health care providers may be concerned and want to introduce formula to bring her blood sugar back up to the normal range. When she remains closes to you, she is better able to regulate all of her body systems and maintain her blood sugar where it should be.
  5. A bath with mom or dad sounds niceSince your baby feels most secure when she is close to a parent, you might consider taking the first bath with your baby, when you are ready. Getting in the tub with your baby and holding her in your arms is a wonderful way to have that first bath. Your baby will feel secure and loved, when she does not have to be separated from you in the first days. She will enjoy the soothing water while being held, happily splashing and giving little kicks. It might feel so good that she may even fall asleep! Remember, little babies are very slippery when wet, so you will need someone to hold the baby while you get in and out of the tub. It creates special memories to take that first bath with your baby, rather than having staff do it, shortly after birth, when mom is still recovering herself and not really able to engage in the process.babybath0306_468x349
  6. Handle with glovesIn many hospitals, it is policy for staff to handle all unbathed babies with gloves on their hands, so as to protect staff from coming into contact with any amniotic fluid, blood, or vernix that remain on your newborn. Considering that the transmission of hospital-acquired infections is on the rise, some consider it good practice to have all hospital staff wear gloves when handling a newborn baby, even if a bath has already occurred. Some studies show glove use in very low birth weight babies have fewer infections when staff handle the baby with gloves on, despite the bath status.

 

There are many benefits to delaying the bath of your newborn until both you and baby are stable and ready to participate in this special “first” moment. There is no medical reason that a newborn must be bathed in the first hours or days. I encourage you to learn more about the appropriate time to bathe your baby and make a choice to do so when you and your baby are ready. Sharing your wishes with hospital staff can be done respectfully and your wishes can be honored.

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Sources:

Loring, C., Gregory, K., Gargan, B., LeBlanc, V., Lundgren, D., Reilly, J., . . . Zaya, C. (2012). Tub bathing improves thermoregulation of the late preterm infant. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 41(2), 171-179. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2011.01332.x

Medoff Cooper, B., Holditch-Davis, D., Verklan, M. T., Fraser-Askin, D., Lamp, J., Santa-Donato, A., . . . Bingham, D. (2012). Newborn clinical outcomes of the AWHONN late preterm infant research-based practice project. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 41(6), 774-785. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01401.x

Ng, P. C., Wong, H. L., Lyon, D. J., So, K. W., Liu, F., Lam, R. K., . . . Fok, T. F. (2004). Combined use of alcohol hand rub and gloves reduces the incidence of late onset infection in very low birthweight infants. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, 89(4), F336-340. doi: 10.1136/adc.2003.031104

Preer, G., Pisegna, J. M., Cook, J. T., Henri, A. M., & Philipp, B. L. (2013). Delaying the Bath and In-Hospital Breastfeeding Rates. Breastfeed Med. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2012.0158

Visscher, M. O., Utturkar, R., Pickens, W. L., LaRuffa, A. A., Robinson, M., Wickett, R. R., . . . Hoath, S. B. (2011). Neonatal skin maturation–vernix caseosa and free amino acids. Pediatr Dermatol, 28(2), 122-132. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2011.01309.x

Photo Credit: Goldmund Lukic/E+/Getty Images

 

Oxytocin – 15 Fascinating Facts About ‘The Hormone Of Love’

Mother kissing newborn

If you’ve given birth before, you’ve probably heard of oxytocin – especially if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Oxytocin is the hormone that controls uterine contractions during labour, and helps with the milk ejection in breastfeeding. But this amazing neuropeptide is involved in so much more than just those two functions.

Studies show that oxytocin is calming and can improve mood – it lowers your blood pressure and blocks stress hormones. It can help relieve inflammation and stimulate metabolic functions, like digestion and growth. It is present in females and males, and is active in social interactions. It brings about feelings of relaxation, selflessness, and love. World renown obstetrician, Michel Odent, says, “Whatever the facet of love we consider, oxytocin is involved.”

And oxytocin may be the key to adapting to motherhood. Synthetic oxytocin, however, which is often used to induce or augment labour, does not act the same way in the body as naturally occurring oxytocin. Pitocin/syntocinon does not cross the blood-brain barrier; and while it does produce the same mechanical effects on the body, it does not lead to the same behavioural effects, like maternal attachment promoting behaviours.

The amazingly versatile hormone is present throughout the body during many different activities, and it serves many functions. Here are 15 fabulous and fascinating facts about oxytocin:

Oxytocin Fact #1:
Oxytocin is released in pulses, and the more pulses the more effects seen from the hormone. Baby’s suckling triggers these pulses, which improves milk production and release.

Oxytocin Fact #2:
A surge of oxytocin is released as a baby is being born (due to stretching of receptors in the lower vagina), and baby’s oxytocin levels are high at birth, as well.

Oxytocin Fact #3:
The highest peak of oxytocin in a woman’s lifetime is right after her baby is born, but before the placenta is delivered – we can maximise the hormone’s potential by placing baby skin to skin with mum and leaving the two undisturbed during the time.

Oxytocin Fact #4:

Skin to skin contact increases oxytocin release – whether it’s mother and baby right after birth, dad massaging his infant, or mum and dad holding hands.

Oxytocin Fact #5:
Speaking of birth, an epidural can impact the effects of oxytocin by blocking the pathways it travels. Since oxytocin increases your pain threshold, the epidural may not even be needed.

Oxytocin Fact #6:
Prolactin, the milk-making hormone, is dependent on oxytocin for its production. The levels of these two hormones are strongly correlated during breastfeeding.

Oxytocin Fact #7:
Oxytocin helps mothers interact with their babies. Oxytocin levels correlate with the amount of mother baby interaction, and both benefit from its effects.

Oxytocin Fact #8:
When a baby kneads at the breast, oxytocin is released – so let your baby hug the breast during feeding rather than tucking or swaddling those hands away.

Oxytocin Fact #9:
Oxytocin release can be hindered by a stressful environment, as fight-or-flight hormones inhibit oxytocin. But if someone feels emotionally supported, calm and warm, the environment works in favour of her hormones.

Oxytocin Fact #10:
Oxytocin helps your body use nutrients through digestion, and aids in transferring those nutrients into breastmilk (and to the fetus during pregnancy).

Oxytocin Fact #11:
Oxytocin has direct effects on brain growth, especially the neocortex of the newborn.

Oxytocin Fact #12:

Oxytocin is released during orgasm (male and female). Orgasm has a host of physical and emotional health benefits, so don’t forget to give your partner the nudge now and again!

Oxytocin Fact #13:
Problems with the oxytocin system have been implicated in mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, drug dependency and suicide.

Oxytocin Fact #14:
Positive effects of oxytocin exposure last well past weaning – repeated ‘doses’ of this hormone over the months of breastfeeding can improve maternal health, though more research is needed in this area.

Oxytocin Fact #15:
Aside from its reproductive roles, oxytocin is released when sharing a meal with a friend, hugging someone you care about, and even when petting your dog. So if you’re feeling down, spend some quality time with a good girlfriend, get your hug on with those you care about and love (and ditch the quickie hug, give it longer than a few seconds, relax into it and see how different it feels!) or get connected with your partner… and we’ll leave the rest up to you!

References

  • Bell AF, Erickson EN, & Carter CS. (2014). Beyond labor: The role of natural and synthetic oxytocin in the transition to motherhood. J Midwifery & Women’s Health, 59(1), 35-42.
  • Carter CS. (2014). Oxytocin pathways and the evolution of human behavior. Annual review of psychology, 65, 17-39.
  • Odent M. (2001). The scientification of love. London: Free Assn Books.
  • Odent M. (2002). The first hour following birth: don’t wake the mother! Midwifery Today, (61), 9.
  • Uvnas-Moberg K. (2012). Short-term and long-term effects of oxytocin released by suckling and of skin-to-skin contact. In Mothers and Infants. Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 299.
  • BellyBelly.com

10 Most Important Foods For Women

skin-healthy-food

What are the 10 most important foods, especially for women?

FOLIC ACID – 400 mg daily, 500 mg if you are breastfeeding, 600 mg if you are pregnant. Get it from green leafy vege, fortified fruit juice, nuts and beans.

CALCIUM – 1,000 mg/day if you are under 50, 1,200 mg if you are 50 or over = 3 servings of low-fat dairy or fortified juice.

IRON – 18 mg/day if you are under 50, 8 mg/day if 50 or over, 27 mg/day if you are pregnant. From red meat, beans, fortified cereal and spinach.

VITAMIN D – up to 70 years of age you need 600 international units per day, over 70 increase to 800 IU, from fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackeral, sardines) or fortified juice.

SODIUM – LIMIT to 1,500-2,000 mg/day (a small teaspoon) and remember, even if you don’t add salt, many processed foods and a lot of restaurant foods contain high levels of salt.

FOODS FOR HEART HEALTH – to remove ‘plaque’ from your arteries – fruit, vege, fat-free/low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meat and poultry, fatty fish, nuts, vegetable oils.

PROTEIN – fish, poultry, red meat, eggs, nuts – 46 gms/day = 2 servings.

FIBRE – at least 25 gms/day from beans, nuts, fruit, vege, whole-grain bread.

VITAMIN C – 75-85 mg/day from broccoli, red capsicum, citrus fruit.

OMEGA 3 – FATTY ACIDS x 2 servings per day from fatty fish, flaxseed, walnuts.

Supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet!

Drink plenty of water and get some regular exercise. If your eyes are bright and your hair is shining, chances are your fertility and general health will also be in tip-top condition!

Sourced from the Billings Institute