Stork Mama http://storkmama.com Best Pregnancy, Maternity and Parenting Guide Fri, 31 Mar 2017 16:49:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 Best Co Sleeper Reviews – Ultimate Buying Guide http://storkmama.com/best-co-sleeper-reviews/ http://storkmama.com/best-co-sleeper-reviews/#respond Fri, 02 Sep 2016 08:00:26 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=649 What is the best co sleeper? Deciding on where your baby sleeps can have a huge impact on your family. Whether you choose to co-sleep by bed sharing or room sharing one aspect is vital – safety. Like all parents, you’ll want to make sure your baby is safe as they sleep. Baby co-sleepers allow you to sleep side by side whilst giving your little bundle the safety of their own space. Pin for later When you don’t know where to start the choice of co-sleepers can be overwhelming. The trick is knowing what features you need to focus on

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What is the best co sleeper?

Deciding on where your baby sleeps can have a huge impact on your family. Whether you choose to co-sleep by bed sharing or room sharing one aspect is vital – safety. Like all parents, you’ll want to make sure your baby is safe as they sleep. Baby co-sleepers allow you to sleep side by side whilst giving your little bundle the safety of their own space.

Pin for later

best co sleeper reviews

When you don’t know where to start the choice of co-sleepers can be overwhelming. The trick is knowing what features you need to focus on to find the best co-sleeper for your family. We’ve created this guide for parents, like you, who want to make a great choice when buying a co-sleeper.

If you’re in a hurry, then these are the topics we’ll discuss:

  • Co-sleeper Comparison Chart
  • 6 Best Co-Sleeper Reviews
  • Pros and Cons of Co-Sleepers
  • Recommendations for
  • Buying Guide
  • Safe Co Sleeping

Let’s get started by comparing what’s available on the market.

Baby Co-Sleeper Comparison Chart

Baby Bath TubModelTypeAge RangeNightlightPriceRating
The First Years Close And Secure SleeperBed Sharing0-4mYes$4.0 Stars
DockATotBed Sharing0-9mNo$$$4.5 Stars
HALO BassinestSide Sleeper0-5mYes$$$4.1 Stars
SwaddleMe By Your Side SleeperBed Sharing0-5mNo$4.2 Stars
Arm's Reach Concepts Clear VueSide Sleeper0-5mNo$$4.4 Stars
Summer Infant by Your Side SleeperBed Sharing0-5mNo$$4.4 Stars
BabybaySide Sleeper0-6mNo$$$$4.5 Stars
Chicco Next to meSide Sleeper0-9mNo$$$$5.0 Stars

6 Best Co Sleeper Reviews

The following co-sleepers are the ones we rated best. The right one for you will depend on your personal preference. It’s best to choose the co-sleeper which offers most benefits for you and your baby. There are great options available for all budgets.

The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper

  • Type: Bed Sharing
  • Age Range: 0- 4 months
  • Colors: Cream

Pros: Affordable, good size, lightweight, nightlight, sturdy

Cons: Short length, non-adjustable foot rest

Our Verdict

The First Years Close and Secure is the bestselling co-sleeper on the market. It’s a popular choice if you want baby to sleep in the bed with you. You can also use it around the house or for traveling. For the peace of mind, convenience and portability, it’s worth the price even for the short-term use.

Safety – It’s designed with a structured head rest which gives you and baby a protected sleep space. So no worrying if baby rolls near you, or you rolling onto baby. The foot rest also prevents baby from slipping down the bed and under blankets. Although many parents report this can be quite restrictive as baby grows.

Ease of Use – The bottom half has a soft mesh side to make it easier to feed or sooth baby during the night. If you are formula feeding, keep your equipment at your bedside. This way, you won’t even need to leave the bed. There is a built in nightlight which is gentle enough for sleepy eyes to use in the wee hours of the night.

Bedding – This co sleeper comes with an in build mattress and cover. It’s waterproof so can be easily wiped down. If there are any ‘explosive’ incidents, you can remove the cover and machine wash.

Portable – You can fold this co-sleeper in half and carry with the in-built handle. This makes is easier to use around the house for nap-time, babysitting at relatives or even traveling with your new-born.

Best for – We would recommend this co-sleeper for those with a kind size bed. It would still fit a queen size, but if you or your partner are on the larger side, you will struggle for space.

DockATot

  • Type: Bed Sharing
  • Age Range: 0-8 months (larger size available for 9m-3years)
  • Colors: 7 Fabrics

Pros: Soft fabric, breathable, portable, good size

Cons: Expensive

Our Verdict

The DockATot is the best and safest bed sharing co-sleeper. It gives your baby the security of a swaddled environment which helps them to sleep better. This co-sleeper comes highly recommend from parents who use it. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s a great investment, and you get a lot longer use than other co-sleepers on the market.

Comfort – This co-sleeper has a raised bumper design that keeps baby snug inside. The material is soft and breathable, which makes it safe and easy to use for bed-sharing. As baby grows you can unclip the end so their legs can stretch.

Ease of Use – If you are breastfeeding the DockaTot is a lifesaver. You can position yourself on top of the soft raised edge, you won’t even need to move baby for a feed. It’s also great for transitioning baby to their own bed, so they don’t feel so alone.

Cleaning – The cover for the DockATot is completely removable. You can machine wash but it’s recommend to air dry to prevent shrinkage. The bumper pad need airing only. If your baby needs frequent night changes it’s recommend you put a muslin square on the mat to prolong the cover use. You can buy different covers to switch up the style or to use between washes.

Portable – This co-sleeper has handles attached to the cover for easy transport. It’s lightweight, soft and simple to store. When traveling it can be handy to use on the beach or by the pool.

Best for – We would recommend this co-sleeper for breastfeeding moms and long term bed sharers. If you have twins, the deluxe size is suitable for bed sharing with both when they are newborn.

Arm’s Reach Concepts Clear Vue

  • Type: Side Sleeper
  • Age Range: 0-5 months
  • Colors: Cocoa or natural

Pros: Affordable, multi-use, breathable mesh sides, on wheels, compact

Cons: Doesn’t fold

Our Verdict

The Arms Reach Clear Vue is a great all-rounder. Not only can you use it as a co-sleeper but also a regular bassinet and storage unit. The Arms Reach side sleeper range is the most popular in the USA. They allow you to sleep next to baby without the discomfort and safety risks of bed sharing.

Safety

This co-sleeper comes with an anchor plate to make the bassinet flush with your bed. This model also has extendable legs to adjust it to the same height as your mattress. The legs are on wheels; however, they all lock for stability. Mesh panels are used on all four sides so baby can breathe if the push up against the edge. This also makes it easier for you to see baby from any angle.

Ease of Use

The best thing about this co-sleeper is the convenience. You can use it as a co-sleeper or switch to a freestanding bassinet if you feel the set-up isn’t working for your family. There is no disruption to the whole bed when baby wakes. Just lean over to tend to them or easily pull baby into the bed with you for a feed. When baby goes back you both have your own space to sleep side by side. You can even keep feeding or diapering equipment in the handy storage basket for easy access during the night.

Bedding

The co-sleeper comes with an inbuilt mattress that attaches to the base with velco. A fitted sheet is also included; however, you will need to purchase more for change supplies. The mattress is waterproof, and the sheets can be machine washed for quickness.

Moveable

A big downside of this co-sleeper id the lack of portability. You can move it from room to room as the legs have wheels. It’s if you want a bassinet that allows baby daytime naps in the living room and then co-sleep in the bedroom at night.

Best for

We would highly recommend this co-sleeper for those who need a space-saving option. It can be moved around the house so no need for extra bassinets in each area. It’s fairly compact compared to other models and won’t take up too much floor space. We highly recommend it if you have a C-section. The dropped side and storage basket means minimal bending for your sore abdomen when tending to baby at night.

HALO Bassinest

  • Type: Side Sleeper
  • Age Range: 0-5 months
  • Colors: Grey circles or damask

Pros: Adjustable height, mesh edges, stable, nightlight, full rotation

Cons: Price, not portable

Our Verdict

The HALO Bassinest is the perfect option if you want a co-sleeper which rates highly for safety and convenience.  This model offers the benefits of a bed sharing co-sleeper without taking up space in your bed. It’s a great modern option with a basic model and premier range for music, vibration and nightlight features.

Ease of Use – The unique feature of this co-sleeper is the spring-loaded side that lowers when you lean on it. This gives you easy access to baby simply with the weight of your arms. With a 360⁰ swivel you can bring baby closer to you or push away to get out of bed. The sound and vibration will help you soothe baby back to sleep. The nightlight is handy for giving you a bit more visibility when tending to baby during the night.

Safety – It’s the safest room sharing co-sleeper on the market. The lowering side gives you easy access to baby without the worry of baby slipping between the mattresses. The base is very sturdy and can be adjusted to your mattress height. It comes with a side lock to prevent you accidentally pushing down the side as you sleep.

Bedding – The Bassinest comes with a waterproof mattress and a fitted sheet. The mattress is wipe clean, and the sheets are machine washable. You can also buy more separately for using between washes.

Best for – We recommend this bed for moms who have had a C-section. You have space for baby with ultimate control for mom. It is really easy to maneuver about. This means less pain for you whilst you tend to baby. It’s also great for tall beds as it expands right up to a 34” height.

SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper

  • Type: Bed Sharing
  • Age Range: 0-5 months
  • Colors: White

Pros: Good Price, Sturdy sides, portable, long length, mesh sides

Cons: Large, noisy plastic mattress

Our Verdict

The Swaddle Me By Your Side Co-sleeper is like a mini bassinet you place in your bed. It’s a really affordable option and gives parents peace of mind by having a clear view of baby. It’s not the easiest co-sleeper for access. However, it prevents parents from rolling onto baby when sleeping in the middle.

Safety – The metal frame of this co-sleeper is great for preventing rolling onto baby. Unfortunately, it makes it a little uncomfortable for parents if room is tight. The mesh side allows baby to breathe should they roll into the sides. You’ll also be able to see baby without sitting up.

Ease of Use – This co-sleeper doesn’t score too highly for access to baby. You will need to sit upright if you want to remove baby for a feed. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend it for moms who had a C-section and not as convenient as other models for breastfeeding.

Bedding – This co-sleeper comes with a waterproof mattress and removable sheet. The mattress has a plastic feel to it which some find quite noisy. The fabric makes it easy to wipe clean. You can machine wash the sheets and buy replacements for a very affordable price.

Portability – This co-sleeper is extremely portable and lightweight to move around. It’s collapsible so easy to store. We love it as a space-saving solution for baby naps in other areas of the house.

Best for – We recommend this co-sleeper for parents who have a lot of space in the bed. It’s a perfect option for bed sharing without the risk of suffocating baby.

Babybay

  • Type:  Side Sleeper
  • Age Range: 0-6 months
  • Colors: 4 wooden finishes

Pros: Adjustable height, sturdy, easy assembly, suitable for twins

Cons: Expensive

Our Verdict

The BabyBay is the best luxury co-sleeper on the market. The brand is new to the USA but a bestseller in Europe. It’s a very stylish option that gives a classic crib look rather than a metal frame.

Safety – The Babybay is the sturdiest co-sleeper on our list. The frame allows you to fix the dropped side to your bed frame with straps to keep it flush. The mattress height can be adjusted making it level with your mattress. There is also the option of a removable barrier if you want to be extra cautious about baby rolling between mattresses.

Ease of Use – This co-sleeper takes about 15 minutes to set up. Without the barrier, it is the perfect solution for breastfeeding moms. Pull baby over for a feed, then slide them back when you are done. It can be used as a freestanding crib in other rooms, but you’ll need an additional bed rail. The wheels make it easier for you to move around the house.

Bedding – The Babybay doesn’t come with a mattress provided, however, there are 4 options to choose from. The curved shape means you can’t use a generic brand. Separate machine washable sheets are also available.

Modular –Although not available for the US market yet there are accessories, which help you convert the baby bay into many different forms. This includes a playpen, highchair, child’s bench, desk and chair and freestanding crib. You may be able to have these item shipped over from Europe.

Best for – We highly recommend investing in the baby bay if you plan to have more children. It’s a sturdy piece of equipment and will see you through many years of use. The spacious design also makes it suitable to use for newborn twins.


Types of Baby Co-Sleeper

Bed Sharing Co-sleeper

This style of co-sleeper is designed for bed sharing with your baby. The idea is to eliminate the risk of parents rolling onto baby whilst you sleep. These co-sleepers allow baby to have their own space in the bed with raised side to prevent the parents of baby rolling. Bed sharing co sleepers come in two forms:

Framed – The co-sleeper has a fixed area with a framed support. This offer stability and is uncomfortable for parents if they roll into it. They make it easier to alert parents when they are too close to baby at night. They require a lot of space in the bed.

Contoured – This type is like a large pillow which contours around baby. The raised edges protect baby. They are very easy for breastfeeding moms to use. Although more expensive, this type often has a longer usage than fixed shape co-sleepers.

Side Sleeper

co sleeping with mom

This type of co-sleeper is for parents who want baby to share the bed but with their own area off to the side. These offer easy access to baby without the risk of suffocation or overheating that comes with bed sharing. Modern side sleepers are available in two types:

Three sided – These look just like a regular bassinet or crib but with three sides. You attach the missing side to your mattress. This makes the co-sleeper your babies sleep area part of your bed. It’s essential the co-sleeper is securely attached, and any gaps between mattresses minimized.

Flexible Bassinet – This type is effectively a standalone bassinet that gives you easy access to baby. A regular bassinet requires you to sit up to tend to baby. The flexible sides of this type give the benefits of easy access whilst providing a safe barrier as you both sleep.

Benefits of  a Co-Sleeper

Safe Space

The biggest risk of co-sleeping with a baby is the risk of suffocation. This may be for parents rolling or being stuck between, blanket, wall or headboards. A co-sleeper gives baby their own safe space so parents don’t need to make too many adjustments to their bed.

Aids Breastfeeding

Having your baby right next to you gives you easy access for night feeds. It also makes you more responsive to their feeding cues. Feeding a baby during the night is a great way to boost your milk supply as your lactation hormones are highest in the early hours of the morning.

Soothe Baby

Modern co-sleepers have extra soothing features such as white noise, music or vibration modes. These can help baby fall asleep easier and ease the pressure on you to calm them.

Convenience

You’ll get a lot more sleep as you won’t need to full wake so often. Having baby beside you makes for easier feeding and nappy changes. Some models make it so easy you don’t even need to fully wake to comfort or feed baby. Small storage areas and nightlights mean less disruption or searching about during the night which can cause unnecessary disruptions to your partner.

Happy Dads

Most dad love the idea of sleeping but are petrified they might roll onto baby. Moms are more intuitive about sleeping with baby. Bed-sharing co-sleepers are particularly reassuring for dads to ease their worries. If your partner isn’t keen on bed-sharing, you can always compromise by opting for a side sleeper.

Save the Mattress

If you’ve ever changed a baby’s nappy, you will know they can sometime be, well…. explosive. A co-sleeper is a great way to minimize the damage to your mattress from unexpected pee and poo leaks. At the very least, it can cut down on your washing load, by changing tiny sheets rather than king-sized sheets.

Disadvantages of a Co-sleeper

Short Term Use

Most co-sleepers are recommended to use only for a few months. Usually, this is when baby can roll over themselves. You may not want to make a huge investment in a co-sleeper for such a short period of use. Even so, having a co-sleeper can reduce the risks of SIDS which is higher in babies under 14 weeks.

Unsuitable Bed

You may find that it’s difficult to find a co-sleeper for your bed. Bed sharing option often takes up a lot of space and can be uncomfortable unless you have a king-size bed. Consider the frame of your bed when buying a side sleeper as each model has different attachment style. Some will only be suitable for framed beds and not divan styles.

Baby Preference

Just like adults babies have their sleeping preferences. This means that some babies might not like the co-sleeper that you choose for them. If your baby likes to be swaddled to sleep, then you shouldn’t bed share with them. Some babies, especially when breastfeeding, won’t settle unless they are snuggled beside mom.

Best Co-sleeper for …

Let’s look into the types of co-sleeper which will offer most benefit for your family’s lifestyle.

C-Sections

A co-sleeper which requires minimal movement for mum is best. This means less maneuvering of your tender abdomen. Most side sleepers are suitable for moms with a C-section wound. For bed sharing, you should opt for one with soft side rather than a fixed frame.

Breastfeeding

For breastfeeding you want a co-sleeper which offers easy access to baby. A side sleeper or soft bed sharer is the best option. These help to position baby at the breast without too much movement. You also won’t need to fully wake for a feed, which mean you can still snooze whilst baby feeds.

 Twins

A spacious co-sleeper can be used for newborn twins to sleep together. The DockATot, Arms Reach range and BabyBay are all suitable for twin use. Newborn twins are often lower in birth weight than singletons. As your twins grow and take up more room, you’ll need to buy an additional co-sleeper or transition to a different sleep area for safety.

twins cosleeper


Baby Co- Sleeper Buying Guide

Let’s start by looking at all the features you should consider to find the best baby co-sleeper for your family.

Age Range

  • Newborn – Most co-sleepers are suitable for newborn babies until they are a few months old. This puts a short shelf life on these products so you may not want to invest too much for such short use.
  • Older Baby/ Toddler – Some co-sleepers can be used for longer periods; however, they are often more expensive. Usually, they can be adapted for other uses as baby grows, such as playpens or tummy time supports.

Usage

  • Frequent – If you plan to use your co-sleeper regularly, including nap time you want one which lasts. Invest in a high quality co-sleeper which you can use around the house or even travel with.
  • Occasional – A co-sleeper which is only used for visiting or traveling purposes doesn’t need too much investment. Opt for one which is lightweight, portable and easy to assemble.

Cost

  • New – Co-sleepers can range from $40-$500 depending on which features you want. A safe sleep space for baby is the most important feature over looks or modern gadgets.
  • Second Hand – Buying a used co-sleeper can get you a higher spec for your budget. It’s important to make sure the co-sleeper has not been recalled by the manufacturer. If you are unsure do a quick internet search before buying. Check for any structural faults, which can make it unsafe for baby. We would highly recommend buying a new mattress for your baby.

Safety

This is hands down the most important feature of any co-sleeper. You should never compromise your baby’s safety for price or fancy gadgets. It can lead to serious injury for your baby.

All bedside sleepers need to conform to ASTM Safety Standards (available here).

  • Structure – The Co-sleeper needs to offer baby a structured side which prevents movement onto baby. Side sleepers require a structure between the bassinet and adult mattress to prevent baby slipping between the surfaces. The base should be sturdy and secured to the bed frame.
  • Flat surface – All co-sleeper should provide a flat and firm surface for baby to sleep on. This will allow your baby to have a neutral neck position which does not restrict their breathing. Soft structure co-sleeper should only be used on a flat, firm surface to support baby.
  • Sides – They should be designed to allow airflow to baby. This prevents baby from suffocating should they press themselves against the sides. Modern co-sleepers have sides made from mesh or stats if there is a structures frame sides.
  • Locks – Flexible or movable co-sleepers should have safety locks to prevent accidental movement. Pets and other children are curious and can put your baby at risk if safety locks are not utilized.

Ease of Use

Picture yourself during the middle of the night, sleep deprived and tender after birth. Do the features of the co-sleeper make life easier for you or offer no benefit?

  • Set Up – How easy is the co-sleeper to set up to use. Some styles may need to be adjusted as baby grows, consider if you’ll need extra tools to do this.
  • Size – This is important for bed sharing co-sleepers. Most of them are quite bulky to allow baby enough space. For those with queen-sized beds you may struggle with room to sleep if either parent is on the larger side. For side sleepers, consider how much room you have available at the side of the bed. Will it be easy for you to get in and out of the bed without too much maneuvering?
  • Storage – you may occasionally need to store the co-sleeper when not in use. Look for a folding style which will save space.
  • Portability – Bed sharing co-sleepers are the most portable option. These are even suitable for using out of the house such as when traveling, visiting or on day trips.  The arms reach side crib range have a few styles which are portable. A lot of modern side sleepers have wheels so you can use them as a free-standing bassinet around the house.

Comfort

Just like your own bed you should try to make your baby’s sleep environment as comfortable as possible.

  • Mattress – A firm mattress will provide a good sleeping position for baby. Some mattresses are made from a waterproof material which can make them a bit noisy when baby moves around.
  • Position – Some co-sleepers can offer a slight incline to ease the discomfort of reflux of colic. We do not recommend using this position unless you can fully supervise your baby. It puts baby at great risk of slipping down and under blankets.
  • Space – This is a case of personal preference for your baby. Your baby may prefer a snug space to which reminds them of your womb. As your baby grows will probably like to move around more and hate to be restricted. If they are unable the stretch and kick, your baby will be uncomfortable when they get larger. You may want to opt for a sleeper with adjustable length to get as much use as possible.

Cleaning

Diaper changes, spit up or just general use mean that you’ll need a way of keeping your co-sleeper clean. This is what you should look for to make the process easier.

  • Material – Mattresses should at least be wipeable, and some should be regularly aired to prolong the use. Non-removable fabrics should be wipeable to freshen the co-sleeper during washes.
  • Machine washable – Removable sheet should be machine washable and dried. This helps to speed up the washing and keeps the crib fresh and clean.

Baby Co-Sleeper Safety Advice

When co-sleeping you need to provide a safe environment to reduce any risks to baby. Always adopt this safety advice when co-sleeping with your baby.

Never leave baby unsupervised

Always supervise your baby whilst they sleep. Regardless of where there are sleeping, babies are at greater risk of SIDS if left unsupervised whilst sleeping. You will be able to tend to baby’s needs quickly should they become distressed.

Smoking and Medication

If you or your partner is a smoker, it is best that you do not use a co-sleeper for your baby. Your baby will benefit more for sleeping in a freestanding bassinet in your room. This is due to the risk of second-hand smoke increasing your baby’s risk of SIDS.

Check the temperature

Your baby is at great risk of SIDS if the room is too hot. Ensure that room temperature is between 60.8-68⁰F. If you feel baby is too cold, add a layer of blankets. If you think baby is too hot remove layers of blankets or extra clothing such as cardigans.

Remove Excess bedding

Extra bedding such as pillow, blankets or big fully duvets put baby at great risk of suffocation. Your baby can become entrapped in these areas, and their airflow restricted. Remember to remove any toys from babies sleeping area when they are in it.

Use a firm surface

Your co-sleeper should always provide a firm, flat surface for babies to sleep. Poor neck control makes it easy to position a baby with their chin to their chest. As a result their airflow is restricted. Never use a bed sharing sleeper on a waterbed.

Place baby on back

Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Statistics have shown a 50% drop in SIDS related deaths when babies sleep on their back rather than side or tummy. Again, this is because the airflow is at greater risk of restriction in these positions.

No Pets allowed

Regardless of whether you are bed sharing or using a side sleeper, never let pets sleep on the bed. You will be unable to monitor their movements as you sleep, putting baby at greater risk of suffocation.

Learn CPR

Knowing how to resuscitate your baby is a lifesaving skill to have. Knowing how to react in those precious few minutes can help to save your baby’s life. If your baby chokes on a toy or when weaning, you’ll be prepared with CPR skills. You never know when you may need it. Look into child-related CPR courses near you before your baby arrives.

Summary

We hope this guide was helpful enough to find the perfect co-sleeper for you. If you have any recommendation or tips for co-sleeping with your baby, please leave a comment below.

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Cosleeping with a Newborn Baby – Ultimate Sleep Guide http://storkmama.com/cosleeping-with-a-newborn-baby/ http://storkmama.com/cosleeping-with-a-newborn-baby/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 05:00:08 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=630 Cosleeping with a newborn baby is a growing parenting choice. As the name suggest it means sleeping alongside your baby. This may be an easy choice for you, however you need to consider how your partner feels about co-sleeping. Weighing up all the pros and cons before baby is born will prevent you coming across any stumbling blocks once baby arrives. If you are considering co-sleeping with your baby then this guide is for you.  If it works for your family then it’s the best choice for your baby. Never mind if others don’t agree with your choice, you won’t

The post Cosleeping with a Newborn Baby – Ultimate Sleep Guide appeared first on Stork Mama.

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Cosleeping with a newborn baby is a growing parenting choice. As the name suggest it means sleeping alongside your baby. This may be an easy choice for you, however you need to consider how your partner feels about co-sleeping. Weighing up all the pros and cons before baby is born will prevent you coming across any stumbling blocks once baby arrives.

Cosleeping with a newborn

If you are considering co-sleeping with your baby then this guide is for you.  If it works for your family then it’s the best choice for your baby. Never mind if others don’t agree with your choice, you won’t be losing any sleep over it. We’ll discuss the different types of co-sleeping, the pros and cons, how to co-sleep safely, deciding if it’s right for you and how to set up your room. Let’s get started.

Types of Co-Sleeping

When it comes to co-sleeping there are two different methods: bed sharing or room sharing. Each one has their own benefits and drawbacks. The best one is the one that works for your family. You may even decide to switch between the two styles as your baby grows.

Bed Sharing

This involves having baby sleeping in your bed, either on mom’s side or in between parents. Having baby sleep in your bed has a lot of advantages. However parents are often wary of this option because of the potential dangers. This co-sleeping option is the one that requires most consideration as it has big implication for you and your partner.

family bed sharing

Benefits of Bed Sharing

  • Save money – You don’t need to spend money investing in a crib, or dealing with the hassle of building it up.
  • Keep cozy – When you baby wakes you simply open your eyes and you are there. No more getting up to the sound of your baby screeching down a baby monitor from your warm and snug bed.
  • Instinct – Humans have evolved to sleep with their newborn babies to protect them. It’s natural for parent to lie of their sides in a protective c shape around there baby. Higher rates of sleep arousal mean we have evolved to naturally wake and check that baby is ok.
  • Better sleep pattern – Your baby is more likely to follow your sleep patterns if you bed share. This helps you quickly get through those sleep deprived nights.

Concerns of Bed Sharing

The biggest concern with bed sharing is safety and babies’ risk of suffocation. It’s not simply a case of placing baby in your bed and off you go. Modern day adult beds and sleeping arrangements are not exactly baby friendly. Most parents, especially dads, worry about rolling on top of baby.  If you are in a deep sleep you can roll of top of baby. This is extremely rare and unlikely if you follow safe co-sleeping guidance, which we will discuss later.

Room Sharing

An alternative to sharing your bed with baby is to have them sleep in your room but in their own bed space. The type of bed can vary between a bassinet, crib or co sleeper which attaches to your bed.

cosleeping room sharing

Benefits is Room Sharing

  • Great middle ground – Room sharing is a great way to get the benefits of co-sleeping without the disadvantages of discomfort or concerns of rolling onto baby.
  • Tend to baby – Having baby close means you can feed them or change a nappy quickly during the night. Plus if you have an explosive diaper or leaky nappy then it’s only in baby’s area and not yours.
  • Baby adapts – When it comes to moving baby into their own bed room sharing can make this easier. The closeness of room sharing lets baby know you are there but gives them the freedom of their own space.

Drawback of Room Sharing

The main disadvantage of room sharing is that it’s not close enough for some parents. You may prefer to have baby as close as possible and enjoy the skin to skin contact it give you. If you prefer to follow and attachment parenting model, then you’ll probably opt for bed sharing over room sharing. Intimacy is another concern for parents who are considering room sharing.

Cosleeping Aids

Co-sleeping involves making changes to your sleeping area to make it safer for baby. Check out the co-sleeping products available to make your life a lot easier.

For Bed Sharers

Nest

This is a little area of padding which ‘nests’ your baby. It makes co sleeping easier whether baby is sleeping to the side or in between parents. Baby has its own little sleep area, which makes it less likely parent will roll onto them. They can also be used as a portable sleep area. Using a nest is great for new-borns and can even be used for padding as baby learned to sit upright.

Bed Guard

For older babies opt for a bed guard. You can buy a pillow shaped guard which should cover a good length of your bed. Some parents like to use the mesh toddler bed guards so baby can still breathe should they roll into it. Never use a bed guard for a newborn or baby unable to roll as they can become trapped and at greater risk of suffocation.

For Room Sharers

Bassinet

This is like a little mini crib for baby. As bassinet is a great way for babies to have their own sleep space in your room. Position it right next to you bed so you have easy access if baby should cry during the night. Modern bassinets have supportive mesh sides to allow breathing is they roll over. These also help you to see baby easily when you are lying in bed.

Co Sleeper Crib

These cribs attach to your bed with no side barrier, giving you instant access to baby. They are a great way to get the closeness of bed sharing without the safety risk.  No need to even sit up to tend to baby. They are fantastic for breastfeeding, whilst giving baby their own safe area to sleep.

best co sleeper reviews article

Benefits of Cosleeping With a Newborn

Whether you chose to co-sleep by bed sharing or room sharing there are some shared benefits between the two methods.

Easier night feeds

Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding so much easier. You don’t need to get up and settle in another room. Simply let baby settle in bed with you and feed whilst side lying. You usually only need to be awake to attach baby and then you can snooze throughout a feed.  This method of night feeds encourages longer breastfeeding relationships.

Reduced Risk of SIDS

Babies who sleep alone are 4 times more at risk of SIDS than babies who co-sleep. Countries where co-sleeping is the norm have the lowest rates if SIDS. A slight increase in carbon dioxide from parent breath stimulates baby to breathe more. Co sleeping babies also tend to sleep more on their back or sides which is a big factor in preventing SIDS.

Babies Cry Less

Co sleeping causes baby to startle less during the night. Startling can cause a baby to cry, so babies who sleep alone cry up to 4 minutes more than a co sleeping baby. Your baby will cry less because you are able to respond to their needs quicker when you are co-sleeping.

Parents get more sleep

With reduced crying and easier night feeds, co-sleeping leads to minimal disruptions during the night. Compare this to solo sleeping where you need to constantly get up to tend to baby in another room. A baby monitor may also cause more disruption to your partners sleep than if baby was in the room with you.

Improved Health

Co sleeping babies are known to have better breathing rates, heart rates and maintain their temperature better. The feeling of security the closeness give them reduce their stress levels. Babies who experience less stress have better emotional and brain development in later life.

nightime breastfeed

Co-Sleeping Risks

There are certain circumstance under which you should never co-sleep by bed sharing. Even room sharing put you at higher risk of taking baby temporarily into bed and falling asleep. These factors are known to increase your baby’s risk of SIDS or suffocation.

Alcohol

If you have drunk alcohol it can make you sleepy and affect your ability to wake. Even if you’ve has only one glass of wine it’s advisable not to co-sleep with baby. If you bed share with baby in the middle, then it’s important your partner is not under the influence of alcohol.

Smoking

If you or your partner is a smoker then it is advises you do not bed share. Smoking release second hand toxins into the air for hours after a cigarette. This reduces the amount of oxygen available to you and baby. This dulls your sense and make you less reactive to baby. For baby it interferes with their breathing patterns and put them at higher risk of SIDS.

Medication

Any medication which makes you sleepy or drowsy should not be taken when co-sleeping. These medications put you into a deep sleep and can make you unaware of baby in the bed. This includes sleeping tablets as well as certain antidepressants, flu and cold remedies or pain killers.

Exhaustion

Most parents are exhausted from sudden changes to their sleep patterns. Conditions such as anemia, pain or thyroid disorders can all increase your levels of fatigue. This makes you less responsive to baby and unaware of their presence. Try to get as much sleep during the day as possible to avoid this.

Sleep Disorders

Avoid bed sharing if you suffer from a sleep disorder which can make you unresponsive. Conditions such a sleep apnoea, narcolepsy or sleep paralysis will all make you unable to respond to baby should they be distressed. Room sharing is still great option and may be advisable so you partner can tend to baby if you are unable to.

Sofas

Never sleep with your baby on an arm chair or sofa. When co-sleeping this is the most dangerous place to sleep. This is mostly due to parent being excessively tired and unintentionally co-sleeping. Babies can become easily wedged between the arms and the parent and become trapped or suffocate.

Low Birth Weight or Premature

If your baby was born before 37 weeks or weighted under 2.5kg then you should not bed share. Premature and low birth weight babies are at greater risk of SIDS. Although unknown it is thought that their immature development makes them unable to cope with a bed sharing environment. These babies do greatly benefit from co-sleeping by room sharing.

Obesity

If you are morbidly obese it is recommend that you room share rather than bed share. You may struggle to recognize when baby is too close to you which put baby at great risk of suffocation. If your partner is extremely obese you should position baby at your side only and not between parents.

co sleeping risks

6 Co-Sleeping Considerations

If you are still undecided about bed sharing, use this guide to consider how much impact it will have on your life. For each concern consider both you and your partner as the decision to co-sleep will affect you both.

1. Risks

If you or your partner fall into any of the risk categories you should reconsider bed sharing. These are based on statistics from infant sleep deaths. Not all of these are risk to room sharing, which is the safest method for newborns when in their own bed space.

2. Comfort

You will probably need to make changes to your bed set up for co sleeping. Changes to a mattress or bedding can reduce your comfort levels. You will have less room to sleep and you movement will be restricted. Bed sharing may not be the best idea if you already struggle to get a good night’s rest.

3. Intimacy

Are you comfortable with the thought of getting intimate when baby is in the bed or room? It’s a personal choice. If one partner is not happy with baby being present then don’t force the idea. You can temporarily move baby to another room during and then bring them back after. You can also choose to get intimate at different times or day or other areas of the house.

4. Sleep disruption

Having a baby in your bed can cause disrupted sleep for either parent, especially as they grow. Consider thing like snoring, sleep talking or tooth grinding. Frequent night waking’s can play havoc with your daily life. It can leave you both feeling tired and grumpy which can lead to short tempers or poor work performance.

5. Timing

If you agree that bed sharing is the way to go then have a time frame in mind. This may be different for either parent. Co-sleeping get more difficult as you baby grows and it get harder to transition then into their own bed. You should only bed share with one child at a time, so you don’t want to cause sibling resentment if you get pregnant whilst still co-sleeping.

6. Pets

A new baby can be a big change for family pets. If your pets already share your bed, it needs to stop if you want to let baby sleep with you. If you think it will be a struggle to get pets to stop sleeping on your bed then room sharing may be a better idea.

Making a choice

If after reading these consideration you are still excited about bed sharing with your baby then go for it. When one parent is keen and the other is hesitant about bed sharing or you have risk factors then room sharing is a great middle ground. If you dread the thought of giving up your comforts, vices and privacy then you should opt for baby to sleep in their own room.

Successful co-sleeping requires commitment from both parents and a safe set up

family cosleeping

Co-Sleeping Bed Set Up

If you decide to share a bed with baby to need to know how to keep it a safe environment for them. This is what you should look out for to ensure your baby is as safe as possible in your bed.

No pillows

Your baby should not be resting on any pillows at all. Your pillows should be regular sized and in plain bedding. Make sure your pillows are positions well away from baby. Try to keep you bed free from extra pillows or decorative piece whilst baby is in it.

Right Temperature

The temperature of your room should be kept comfortable and not too hot or cold. Babies who overheat are a greater risk of SIDS. A good temperature is 60.8-68⁰F. If you think baby is too hot remove a layer of blankets.

Bedding

Thin blankets should be used and not big thick, fluffy ones. Try to keep blankets to a minimum and don’t used heated blankets. Blankets should never go over your baby’s head. You should not swaddle baby when bed sharing.

Mattress

A firm mattress should be used for co-sleeping. Soft mattress or waterbeds are known to increase the risk of SIDS.

Away from walls

Keep your baby away from walls, hard rails or dividers. These can cause baby to become easily trapped between them and a parent. Check you headboard is plain, without any slats, where babies head can get stuck.

Lower the bed

If you decide to keep baby on one side of the bed you may want to lower the bed. Some parents prefer to move the mattress onto the floor, so there is no risk of falls when baby is asleep. If your bed is higher you should not leave baby to sleep alone due to the risk of falls from a height.

Place baby on back

Your baby should always be placed on their back to sleep. If your baby tends to side sleep them move them onto their back if you can. Babies who sleep on their front are at double the risk of SIDS.

Tie your hair back

If you have extremely long hair you should tie it back. This prevents it front getting tangled on baby’s neck or causing a breathing obstruction as they sleep.

Side Carts

Your mattress should be flush with the side cart and secured safely to prevent movement. Using a thin sheet to cover over the join between beds will prevent the risk of gaps baby can slip down.

Co-Sleeping Resources

UNICEF Safe CoSleeping Guide

James McKenna Co-Sleeping guidelines

Mothering.com CoSleeping Community

Infant Sleep Information Source

Attachment Parenting Article

CoSleeping Facebook Group

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Leg and Foot Care during Pregnancy http://storkmama.com/leg-and-foot-care-during-pregnancy/ http://storkmama.com/leg-and-foot-care-during-pregnancy/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 05:00:50 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=619 In pregnancy it’s natural for you to focus on your growing bump. Unfortunately that mean that you may be neglecting anything below the wait. Leg and foot care during pregnancy is important for your health. Your rioting hormones and extra weight can do a number on this area. There are a number of ailments your legs and feet can suffer from during pregnancy. This guide is here to help you care for your legs in pregnancy. Let’s get started. Leg and Foot Care during Pregnancy – Common Problems Swollen Legs and Feet Excessive swelling is also known as edema. You

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In pregnancy it’s natural for you to focus on your growing bump. Unfortunately that mean that you may be neglecting anything below the wait. Leg and foot care during pregnancy is important for your health. Your rioting hormones and extra weight can do a number on this area.

There are a number of ailments your legs and feet can suffer from during pregnancy. This guide is here to help you care for your legs in pregnancy. Let’s get started.

Leg and Foot Care during Pregnancy

Leg and Foot Care during Pregnancy – Common Problems

Swollen Legs and Feet

Excessive swelling is also known as edema. You will notice this happening more as your bump grows. It’s common in the third trimester to go up a shoes size due to swollen feet.  Your body swells so much because of your increased blood supply. With an increase of around 30% of its normal volume it settle in places like your legs and feet. Be aware that excessive swelling can be a sign of a serious condition known as pre-eclampsia. If you have other concerns such as bad headaches, visual disturbances, liver pain, vomiting or high blood pressure, contact your doctor or midwife immediately.

Rest

Elevating your legs will help your circulation to pump the blood higher up the body and away from the lower half. Standing for too long or crossing your legs really restricts the blood flow back to the heart.

Hydration

Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day will reduce your swelling. It helps to keep your circulation moving around the body. You will also dilute any salts from your diet which make you retain water.

Dress right

Try to avoid clothing which restricts small areas of your legs, such as tight socks or shoes. Make sure the feet are well supported with an adjustable fastening for comfort. Compression stockings or socks are a great way to reduce the swelling and improve your circulation.

Relax

Giving your body time to rest can really help reduce the swelling. Try simple methods which are easy on the body such as taking a bath or swimming. A nice leg or foot massage is a great way to pamper yourself or bond with your partner in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

getting a foot massage


Leg Cramps

Muscle cramping during pregnancy are common. They usually start in the second or third trimester. The main cause is unknown however increased weight, hormones and changes to your calcium levels are all thought to contribute.

Do Stretches

Gentle calf and leg exercises can help to reduce a cramp attack. Holding a stretch for 15-30 seconds a few times a day will lengthen the muscle to ward of a contraction. Combining stretching with a gentle massage is known to be very effective for cramps.

Increase Calcium

Calcium is believed to be important for warding off cramps. Increase your calcium intake if you regularly suffer cramps. Dairy products are your best source, however you can also take a vitamin supplement if you have an intolerance or a special diet.


Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the most problematic in pregnancy. It runs down right along the area under greatest pressure from your bump. The nerve them runs down your leg and into your feet. Any pressure put on this area buy your bump can cause severe nerve pain for a few days.

Painkillers

Taking a mild pain killer such a Tylenol can help relieve the pain. Usually it won’t last any longer than a few day. If it persists see your doctor for further advice on using stronger painkillers.

Position

Lying on your left side can take the pressure off your nerve. This position preferred for better blood flow to the baby. You can aid this position by propping yourself up with a maternity pillow for extra support.

Compress

A hot or cold compress can help to provide instant relief for the pain. These are easily available from a pharmacy. If you have a sudden attack of sciatic pain, even a cold bag of peas from the freezer can ease the pain until painkiller kick in.

Exercise

Gentle exercise will help support the muscles in your back. The movement can help reduce the severity of the sciatic pain as sitting may make it worse. Gentle walks or stretches are best for targeting the area.

Physiotherapy

If the sciatic pain is not relieving you can consult a physio for advice. They may give you specialist exercise to do during the day. You may also be given a tummy support band to relieve the weight pressure from the nerve.

pregancy sciatica


Restless Legs

This is an uncontrollable jerking sensation you get in your legs or feet. It mostly occurs during the night time. About 20% of pregnant women suffer from this condition in the third trimester. You are more prone to this condition if you are anemic , so ask your doctor for a simple blood test to check your iron levels. Although it sounds harmless it can really affect your sleep or disturb your daily activities. It can take around 4 week after birth for the symptoms to disappear.

Good Sleep Habits

Establishing a good sleep pattern can help alleviate the symptoms. The means going to bed at a regular time, getting enough sleep and avoiding caffeine which can keep you awake.

Exercise

Gentle exercise can help to stop the symptoms. It’s thought the condition can be linked to dopamine and how the body handle it. Exercise is a great stress reliever and helps your cope better with adrenaline rushes. Try gentle swimming of yoga which can both aid other foot and leg ailments.

Thermal care

If you need an instant cure try using a thermal pad on your leg. You may find a hot or cold compress takes way the jerking motion and relaxes the leg quickly.


Varicose Veins

These are large, visible veins that stick out from the surface of your skin. When your veins backflow a small amount of blood get trapped and causes swelling. These are common in pregnancy because of the extract pressure and weight of your growing baby. You will experience these more if you stand or walk a lot.

Many of the treatments for swollen legs will aid and prevent varicose veins. This includes extra fluids, rest and foot elevation.

Compression stockings

Regular use of compression stocking can help keep varicose veins at bay. Where them as often as possible. This may be difficult if you live in a hot climate. We highly recommend them if you have a job where you are on your feet for very long periods of time.


Flat Feet

In pregnancy your body release a hormone called relaxin. This relaxes the muscles in your body, including your feet. Your foot arch is affected by this hormone. You may even go up a shoe size in pregnancy. The extra weight gain can also cause strain on your foot which results in pain. You should consult a podiatrist if your foot pain becomes excessive.

Supportive shoes

Wearing a shoes with a supportive arch will help to position your foot properly. Ballet flat and sandals won’ provide enough support. Opt for a good supportive trainer shoe for best support. Try to avoid walking around barefooted as the lack of support can cause pain in the ankles and foot ligaments.

Insoles

Specialist orthotic insoles can help to support your joints is the pain worsens. The insoles will support your feet in all the right places and take pressure away from the weaker areas. Your foot will be aligned and prevent pain.


10 Foot and Leg Care Essentials for Pregnancy

To help care for your leg during pregnancy you may need a few aids. Let’s look at some great products to keep your legs and feet in tip top shape.

1. Massage Cream

A good foot massage cream will make foot care feel like a real pamper session. Opt for a soothing mint fragrance to boost your circulation and leave you feeling fresh. If you prefer a relaxing finish then try a lavender or chamomile scented cream.

2. Elevation Cushion

Tackle swelling, varicose veins and sciatica with this simple foot support pillow. The tilted design allows you to position your feet above your heart for optimal circulation. It also helps to keep your pelvis tilted to avoid placing weight on your sciatic nerve.

3. Compression Stockings

Help to boost your circulation when spend a lot of time on your feet. Compression stockings help to push your blood back up to your heart to prevent swelling, varicose veins and cramping. These are lots of funky styles you can get to add a little fun to wearing them.

4. Gel Insoles

Extra pregnancy weight can make your feet hot, sweaty and sore. The extra pressure can make wearing some shoes unbearable. We recommend using a gel insole to cushion your soles. You can even cool them down in a fridge to provide a cool relief for your feet.

5. Foot Bath

A luxury soak in a foot bath will feel like luxury after a long day on your feet. Swollen and pain feet will benefit from the warm water can help to reduce the size and boost your circulation. You can use the time to do some foot and lower leg stretches to prevent cramps.

6. Foot Soak

The ingredients of a foot soak are designed to relieve discomfort in your feet. They will boost your circulation and improve swelling. A foot soak also help you to keep your feet hygienic when your bump start to get in the way.

7. Arch Support

Arch support insoles will provide an area of support for your fallen arches. These insole align your foot to the correct position and relieve pressure from your joints and ligaments. You can also opt for an arch bandage to wear around the house if you prefer to walk barefooted.

8. Foot Massager

This is a bit of a splurge item, but its pure luxury when you need to relax in the third trimester. If you partner isn’t up to massaging your feet it’s a great alternative for you. We recommend a shiatsu style foot massager to give you a good deep kneading massage to your soles.

9. Dry Body Brush

Get your circulation flowing by dry brushing your lower legs. Using an upwards motion you will help to improve the blood flow and lymph drainage in your body. This prevent swelling, varicose veins and cramps. Opt for a dry brush with a long handle to reach all the way down and over your bump.

10. Thermal Compress

Using a hot or cold compress can provide instant relief for swelling, cramps, sciatica and restless legs. These are fairly inexpensive and easy to use. You can also use them after pregnancy to relieve stitches or breastfeeding problems such as engorgement.

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11 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Anemia http://storkmama.com/postpartum-anemia/ http://storkmama.com/postpartum-anemia/#respond Mon, 29 Aug 2016 05:00:13 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=612 If you had a big blood loss at delivery you are probably now dealing with postpartum anemia. This will make you feel exhausted, irritable and downright rubbish. The postpartum period is already a hard slog with sleepless nights, constant feeds, poor diet and still having to run a household. If your iron levels are low it can affect your life beyond your health. Let’s look at ways you can deal with postpartum anemia. These are great tips if you’ve just given birth or you’ve had a big blood loss in a previous pregnancy. 11 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Anemia

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If you had a big blood loss at delivery you are probably now dealing with postpartum anemia. This will make you feel exhausted, irritable and downright rubbish. The postpartum period is already a hard slog with sleepless nights, constant feeds, poor diet and still having to run a household.

If your iron levels are low it can affect your life beyond your health. Let’s look at ways you can deal with postpartum anemia. These are great tips if you’ve just given birth or you’ve had a big blood loss in a previous pregnancy.

postpartum anemia

11 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Anemia

1. Take Supplements

Depending on how low your iron levels are you should start to take iron supplements. You can opt for capsules, liquid or chewable forms. You’ll need to take around 2-3 tablets a day to get your levels back to normal. Finding a good iron supplement for you can be a bit hit or miss. Certain types of iron can give you a really upset tummy or make you feel sick. Look out for brands which are labelled as non-constipating or slow release.

2. Eat Iron Rich Food

Even if you are already taking supplements you have to remember they are a diet aid. That means you should still change your diet to include iron rich foods. The best sources of iron come from animal protein such as meat, poultry or fish. You can also get iron from vegetables, fortified cereals and whole grains. Plant based iron doesn’t absorb as well into the body but can still boost you daily intake.

3. Get Follow Up

Whether you are already diagnoses with postpartum anemia or you feel rubbish at home. See your caregiver If you continue to feel run down and symptomatic of anemia. If may mean you need to change the brand of supplement you are on or that further bloods are needed. If your iron levels continue to drop you may be offered and iron IV drip, injections or a blood transfusion. Your caregiver may also be able to monitor your diet to ensure you are getting the right amount of iron and where you can make changes.

4. Cut down on the Tea

Or coffee for that matter. Both contain an ingredients known as tannins which can slow the absorption of iron. If you also drink a lot of milk, such as a latte, then the calcium can slow your absorption of the iron. We recommend cutting down your daily intake or preferably stopping until your iron levels increase. If you can’t go without try only drinking your tea or coffee in between taking your iron supplements.

5. Get Rest

You should try to get as much rest as possible to help your body recover. If your partner has parental leave then let him do the bulk of the work. Try not to be superwoman, you’ll end up out of action for longer. Rope in family and friends to help out too. They will be around a lot in those early day. Don’t let them leave you to act as a host. If possible get them to bring around a meal do a chore, or let look after baby whilst you have a nap.

best iron supplement article

6. Watch Your Mood

You’ve probably heard of postnatal depression. Studies have shown that there is a definite link between being anemic and developing postpartum depression. Anemia causes fatigue and low milk supply when breastfeeding. These can both leave you feeling overwhelmed. Especially if your baby is not settling and you are feeling exhausted. If you are feeling low then discuss your moods with your caregiver. They will help give you more advice, medication or support groups you can go to.

7. Go Natural

If you are not keen on taking supplements for anemia then try a natural cure. Blackstrap molasses has been used for centuries to improve anemia symptoms. It’s really rich in iron and can help to boost your iron levels quickly. It’s suitable for diabetic as it has a low glycaemic index unlike refined sugar. Its sweet taste means you can use it in your diet as a sweetener. It’s a great option if you simply can’t tolerate any iron supplements. Also if you are vegetarian or vegan and want to avoid using any animal based products or fillers.

8. Vitamin C

Fill up on Vitamin C rich food to boost your iron absorption. This includes fruits such as oranges and strawberries. Some people like to take their iron supplement with orange juice to boost the amount absorbed. You can even look out for iron supplements which are combined with a vitamin c supplement.

9. Drink More Fluids

The health benefits of a regular water intake after birth are amazing. If you’ve lost a lot of blood it’s important to keep your circulation flowing. IF you become dehydrated you put yourself at risk of developing a blood clot. Water can also increase your energy levels and prevent UTI’s which are common with anemia. Iron supplement can also make you constipated which you can tackle with regular fluids.  Don’t go excessive with the water as this can dilute your blood too much and make you feel worse.

10. Stool Softener

If regular fluids aren’t tackling to constipation problem then try a stool softener. You probably won’t poo for around 4 days after delivery. If you are bunged up longer than this you may need a little help. Stool softeners are great for getting things moving along. If you’re brave you can even opt for some prune juice to get more nutrients and increase your fluids at the same time.

11. Monitor Infection

Anemia can make you much more likely to get an infection. Your immune system is lowered and has less change of fighting off any nasty infections. Tears, C-sections wounds and milky breast are all heavenly places for bacteria to breed quickly. If you start to feel unwell, have a fever, shivering or see since of infection then contact your doctor or midwife. These are usually quickly cleared up with antibiotics, however can be fatal if left untreated.

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Best Iron Supplement for Pregnancy Anemia http://storkmama.com/best-iron-supplement-for-pregnancy-anemia/ http://storkmama.com/best-iron-supplement-for-pregnancy-anemia/#respond Sat, 27 Aug 2016 17:16:10 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=602 What is the best iron supplement for pregnancy anemia? Around 20% of pregnancies are affected by anemia. The most common type of anemia is low iron levels in the blood. Iron is essential for carrying oxygen around your body and to your baby. We’ve developed this guide to give you more info on Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) and how it affects your pregnancy. If you’ve been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia in your pregnancy you will need an iron supplement. This will boost your iron levels and make you feel healthier and prepare your body for birth. There is a

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What is the best iron supplement for pregnancy anemia?

Around 20% of pregnancies are affected by anemia. The most common type of anemia is low iron levels in the blood. Iron is essential for carrying oxygen around your body and to your baby. We’ve developed this guide to give you more info on Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) and how it affects your pregnancy.

If you’ve been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia in your pregnancy you will need an iron supplement. This will boost your iron levels and make you feel healthier and prepare your body for birth. There is a lot of choice which can leave you feeling confused about which one is right for you. We’ve researched the market for you to find which one are the best rated. Let’s see what we found.

best iron supplement for pregnancy anemia

Top 5 Best Iron Supplement for Pregnancy

Solgar Gentle Iron

  • Type: Capsule
  • Dose: 25MG
  • Iron: Ferrous bisglycinate

Our Verdict

The Solgar Gentle Iron are our best rated supplements for pregnant women. We are highly recommended them if you usually have tummy troubles when taking iron. They are also non-constipating due to the type of iron used. Although it’s a small dose of iron studies have shown that 25mg of iron biglycinate is as effective as 50mg of iron sulphate. That means less tablets to take to tackle your anemia. The capsules are regular size around about the length of a cent. If you have borderline severe anemia check out our next recommendation.

Ferro-Sequels High Potency Iron

  • Type: Capsules
  • Dose: 65mg
  • Iron: Ferrous Fumerate

Our Verdict

The Ferro-Sequels high potency iron is the best option for high strength iron. These tablets are very effective at building up your iron levels quickly. We would highly recommend them if you are close to needing an IV iron drip or very close to your due date with anemia. They contain vitamin c which makes the body absorb more of the supplement. The slow release formula makes them very easy on the stomach and reduces side effect such as nausea and diarrhea.

Nature’s Plus Iron

  • Type: Chewable
  • Dose: 27mg
  • Iron: Ferrous Fumerate

Our Verdict

The Natures Plus chewable iron tablets are perfect if you find it hard to swallow capsules. Unlike regular iron tablets they taste really nice, which make them easier to take every day. The tablet is the size of a nickel and because they are chewable you won’t need to force the down. They contain 27mg iron so you may need to take a few a day depending on how severe your anaemia is. With added vitamin c you won’t need to worry about taking extra vitamins to help absorb as much as possible.

Floradix Floravital Iron

  • Type: Liquid
  • Dose: 10mg
  • Iron: Ferrous Gluconate

Our Verdict

Floradix liquid iron is highly recommended by obstetricians and midwives. If you struggle to swallow tablet iron then a liquid may suit you. The liquid is very gentle on the stomach and will digest without causing upset or vomiting. It’s suitable for both vegetarians and vegans as there are no binders or capsules. The taste is quite strong, however you can add it to a cherry or grape flavoured juice to mask it. This liquid is also a great option if you want an iron supplement which is gluten free.

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Iron

  • Type: Capsule
  • Dose: 22mg
  • Iron: Non- Haem

Our Verdict

The Garden of Life Vitamin Code Iron is a great capsule alternative to the Floradix. The brand is focused on providing organic vitamin derived from plants. As this is a non-haem iron we strongly recommend using with a vitamin c supplement to improve the absorbency. It’s much easier on the digestive system and won’t leave you feeling constipated after regular use.


Type of Iron Supplement

The type of iron supplement has a huge effect on how easy it is for you to take. There are four common types available.

  • Capsules – This is the most common type. They usually are the most potent type of iron and can be harsh on the stomach. You will need to check if they contain binders or ingredients which are suitable for your diet e.g. vegetarian, soy/gluten free.
  • Liquid – This types is a great option for those who have trouble swallowing tablet forms.  You can add to juice to mask the taste as it’s usually very strong. Liquid are often suitable for most diets and are easier on the stomach. The iron levels are usually lower in liquid forms.
  • Chewable – A great in-between for liquid and tablets. If you need a stronger dose but hate to swallow hard capsules a chewable supplement is great. They often have a metallic or chalky taste to them, however women usually find them easier to stomach than capsules.
  • Soft Gels – Not as commonly available as the other types. They are easier to take than capsules and have a softer effect on the tummy. Check the ingredients of the capsule as often they are usually aren’t suitable for vegetarians.

    taking iron tablet

Iron Supplement Buying Guide

This is the criteria we used to find the best iron supplement for pregnancy. If you are undecided about which brand to opt for then use this list to find one that’s right for you.

Type

We’ve already discussed above the types of iron supplement you can get. Choose one which you feel will be most suitable for you and help you keep a daily routine.

Taste

Most iron tablets have a strong metallic taste especially in capsu

le form. Liquid iron is known to taste particularly strong. Chewable tablets are often rated best for taste as they are usally flavored to make them easier to swallow.

Ingredients

The type of iron which is used in the supplement can affect how well it works for you. Iron is one of those vitamins that work differently for everyone. You may find that one type work better for you than another. If you have a lot of side effects with one type, try switching to another and see if it helps. Most common types of Iron (Ferrous) used in supplements are:

  • Fumerate
  • Gluconate
  • Sulphate
  • Biglycinate

Size

Consider the size of the tablet, especially if you find it difficult to swallow large supplements. Remember you may need to take these tablets up to four times a day. If they are too large you will struggle to force them down and keep up your medicine routine.

Dose

For iron deficiency anemia it is recommended you supplement with 60-200mg of iron daily. The dose of the tablet will determine how many you need to take to meet those requirements every day. Supplement are usually between 10-60mg.

Cost

Like with most supplements you will find good brands to fit all budgets. The quality of ingredients will affect the price. A basic iron tablet are effective and fairly inexpensive however they often cause a few side effects. Expect to pay around $3-$30 for a month’s supply of iron supplements.


Benefits of Iron Supplements in Pregnancy

Feel Better

Improving your iron levels will stop all those nasty effect of anemia. You’ll notice that as you iron levels improve you’ll feel less breathless, dizzy and have less palpitations when you exert yourself.

Stop Fatigue

Feel exhausted is part of pregnancy but anemia makes this a million times worse. You should start to notice an improvement in your energy levels when you take an iron supplement. Your organ are getting for oxygen and have the energy to work well.

Prevent Infection

Low iron levels can make you more likely to get an infection. Common infections like a UTI are be made worse by anemia. Infections are serious in pregnancy and can cause a lot of complications. Taking an iron supplement can prevent this happening.

Better Recovery

Pregnancy anemia with a big blood loss after delivery terrible for your body. You’ll already feel exhausted after birth, but anemia fatigue on top will leave you feeling wiped out. A good iron supplement can prevent this before delivery or aid you after.

Improve Baby Growth

If you have severe anemia in pregnancy it prevent oxygen getting to baby. Without oxygen your baby will have problems growing and developing in a healthy way. Babies who are born too small are at greater risk of infection which can mean a prolonged hospital stay. A good iron supplement will improve your oxygen levels which means more oxygen for baby.

Help Breastfeeding

Prevent anemia can improve your milk supply after delivery. Breast milk is made from your blood supply. If it’s not healthy then your milk supply if affected. Again if you develop an infection such as mastitis you may take a longer time to heal if you are anemic.

pregnancy fatigue

Side Effect of Iron Supplements

Nausea

You may experience nausea or vomiting whilst taking an iron supplement. Avoid taking your supplements on an empty stomach to reduce this side effect.

Upset Tummy

Cramping or stomach irritability is another common side effect of iron tablets. Try to take you tablet at mealtimes to avoid this.

Constipation

Iron can make you really constipated in pregnancy. To prevent this happening you should increase your fluid intake, fiber intake and keep as mobile as possible.


Severe Anemia Treatment

Treatment for anemia will depend on your iron levels. Iron supplements the first line of treatment if your iron levels fall between 85-109 (or 8.5-10.9) during pregnancy.

IV drip

An IV drip of iron may be recommended if your iron levels fall below 85 (8.5) during pregnancy. These are very simple to administer and usually only require a short stay appointment. IT helps to quickly increase your iron levels especially if you are close to delivery. The downside is that some women have a severe allergic reactions to the solutions used.

Injections

This method isn’t used as often, however it is another between tablets and an IV drip. The injections are very effective at increasing iron levels quickly. They are however quite painful and can result in skin staining.

Blood Transfusion

When your levels fall below 70 (7) then you will be offered a blood transfusion. Iron level this low can start to cause permanent damage to your body due to lack of oxygen. A blood transfusion is the quickest way to improve your iron levels.  You will need to continue iron supplement after your transfusion to make sure your iron levels remain high.

Diet Advice

Adding iron rich foods into your diet will help to improve your iron levels. By the end of pregnancy you need at least 30mg of iron a day. That is 3 times more than you need outside of pregnancy.

  • Iron Type – Animal based (haem) iron such as meat and fish is absorbed better than plant based (non haem) iron.
  • Vitamin C – Increasing your vitamin c intake improves the absorbency of iron. Taking your iron supplement with a glass of orange juice it a great way to increase absorbancy. Other great sources include bell peppers and strawberries.
  • Food to Avoid – Cereals, beans, tea and coffee all contain ingredients which reduce iron absorption. You don’t need to exclude these from your diet but try to reduce your intake of them.pregnancy anemia

Pregnancy Anemia FAQ

What is anemia?

In pregnancy the most common cause of anemia is low levels of iron (IDA). Other types of anemia include low vitamin B12 levels, low folic acid or a blood disorder known as sickle Cell.

What causes anemia in pregnancy?

Some women have a poor diet in pregnancy. This may be because they continuous to have morning sickness or bad heartburn and tend to eat less. Around 32 weeks of pregnancy you make a lot more blood to prepare for delivery. This increase can sometimes cause a temporary anemia in some women.

Who is at risk of anemia?

Women who are at higher risk of anemia in pregnancy are those with:

  • Reduced food intake
  • Heavy periods
  • Small gap between pregnancies
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Vegetarian or vegan diets

When you book with your doctor or midwife they will advise you about eating well in pregnancy. Eating an iron rich diet is particularly important if you fall into any of the above categories.

What are the symptoms of anemia?

Common anemia symptoms include: pale complexion, dizziness, lightheaded, fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations and hair loss. Some of these symptoms may just be a result of pregnancy hormones. Alert you caregiver if you are experiencing a few of these symptoms and they will test you for anemia.

How do they test for anemia?

A simple full blood count will inform your caregiver if you are anemic or not. Most caregiver do routine test to pick up those who are anemic but don’t have any symptoms.

Is anemia dangerous in pregnancy?

Most women just feel rubbish when they are anemic. If the anemia is severe the worry is that you will become very ill if you hemorrhage at birth. A hospital birth is advisable so you can receive quick treat should this happen. Also a ‘managed’ third stage, which involves having an injection to remove you placenta will reduce the risk of bleeding.

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Best Kegel Exerciser Reviews for a Strong Pelvic Floor http://storkmama.com/best-kegel-exerciser-reviews/ http://storkmama.com/best-kegel-exerciser-reviews/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:00:45 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=590 What is the best kegel exerciser? When you think of exercise the last place you consider is your pelvic floor. Yet neglecting this area can lead to serious health problems after you have a baby. Pelvic floor exercises or ‘Kegels’ will help you strengthen the area. A Kegel training device can help to aid your exercise routine. Think of it like a piece of gym equipment, it adds a bit of oomph to your workout. Now there is a lot of choice out there so knowing where to start can leave you a bit confused. We’ve created this guide to

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What is the best kegel exerciser?

When you think of exercise the last place you consider is your pelvic floor. Yet neglecting this area can lead to serious health problems after you have a baby. Pelvic floor exercises or ‘Kegels’ will help you strengthen the area.

Best Kegel Exerciser Reviews

A Kegel training device can help to aid your exercise routine. Think of it like a piece of gym equipment, it adds a bit of oomph to your workout. Now there is a lot of choice out there so knowing where to start can leave you a bit confused. We’ve created this guide to help you find a Kegel exerciser that’s perfect for you. Let’s get started.

5 Best Kegel Exerciser Reviews

Intimate Rose Kegel Exercise Weights

Type: Vaginal Cones
Material: Medical Silicone
Strength: 0.9oz up to 4.4oz (25g-125g)

Pros: Range of 6 weights, easy to insert, comfortable, excellent customer service
Cons: Not heavy enough for some

Our Verdict

For a great all round Kegel weight system check out the Intimate Rose set. They come with a range of 6 weights ranging from 0.9oz to 4.4oz. It’s a great way to progress from beginner and build up the strength of your pelvic floor. The box contains the bullet shaped cones which are smooth and easy to insert.

The intimate rose company is fantastic for customer service. If you are having trouble with the weights they are eager to give you suggestions to make them work for you. They took user feedback from their original line and developed the next generation range. The new silicone tail makes them much more hygienic than the original fish line string.

The biggest complaint we found women had with the set was that the range was too light for them. This won’t be a problem for most women after a vaginal delivery as pregnancy will have weakened your pelvic floor.

Elvie Pelvic Floor Exerciser

Type: Biofeedback
Material: Medical Silicone

Pros: Inbuilt workouts, instant feedback, adjusts to your needs, compact, discreet
Cons: Expensive, needs and iOS device

Our Verdict

The Elvie is like a modern day fitbit for your vagina. The idea is to insert the ‘gem’ to give you instant feedback on your pelvic floor exercises. You will need to download an app to your IOS device to keep track of your progress. The gem is really easy to insert and extremely compact and discreet to carry around.

We highly recommend this device if you struggle with motivation for your pelvic floor exercises. It’s pricey so you’ll probably want to justify getting as much use from it as possible. You can even challenge yourself with 6 inbuilt programs to give your pelvic floor a full work out. Set yourself targets and build up your speed and strength which physiotherapist recommend.

This is a great little device, however you will need an IOS device to use it. If you’re not keen on using a device which requires some personal info to sign on to then give it a miss.

Nurse Hatty Premium Kegel Kit

Type: Vaginal Cones
Material: Medical Silicone
Strength: 40g & 62g

Pros: Inexpensive, soft, flexible, durable, comfortable, includes extras
Cons: Quite heavy for complete beginners

Our Verdict

The Nurse Hatty Kegel Weight System is the best budget option on our list. The kit comes with a single weight and a heavier double weight. We found the pear shape of the weight really easy to inset and stay in place. They were quick and easy to remove by gently pulling the silicone tail. There are a few extras in the kit including a cleaning cloth, pH strips and a storage pouch. Customer service from the company is extremely helpful and fast.

The smallest size is a 42g weight which may be too heavy for some complete beginners. If you have really weak pelvic floor opt for the intimate rose set over this one. The soft and flexible silicone material makes these cones really easy to insert, wear and remove.

Kegelmaster 2000

Type: Resistance
Material: Medical grade plastic
Strength: 15 weights from 0 to 4.5lb (Advanced has 64 levels up to 9.5lb)

Pros: Very effective, lifetime warranty, great for beginners and advanced
Cons: Not discreet, requires lubricant

Our Verdict

The Kegelmaster 2000 is an alternative resistance Kegel device. Unlike traditional vaginal cones it works with resistance from a spring coil rather than weights. The standard version has 15 resistance levels (4 coils) and the advanced has 64 levels (8 coils). It’s designed with a size and shape that targets all of your pelvic floor muscles for a full on workout.

The device is inserted and opened until you feel a stretch. You then squeeze and release against to springs for 30 repetitions. You then work your way up the stronger coils as your muscle strength improves. We found the biggest disadvantage of the Kegelmaster 2000 was the design. It pretty much looks like a sex toy, and definitely not discreet enough to carry around with you.

INTIMINA KegelSmart

Type: Electric stimulation
Material: Medical grade silicone
Strength: 5 progressive levels

Pros: Compact, discreet, easy to insert, comfortable
Cons: Requires batteries, price

Our Verdict

The Intimina KegelSmart is like a slendertone for your pelvic floor. It works by gently vibration to alert you when to perform a pelvic contraction. The KegelSmart detects your pelvic floor strength and adjusts the program to your needs. There are 5 different levels which range from very weak to very strong. It helps to keep you motivated by showing your improvement as you move up the levels. This device is great for helping you to locate your pelvic floor especially if you have very poor sensation.

You will need one AAA battery to work the KegelSmart. They are not included so have some on hand before you buy. We highly recommend buying a rechargeable battery to cut down on the cost of buying reliable batteries which last.


Types of Pelvic Floor Exerciser

Pelvic floor devices are designed to aid your Kegel contractions. Using one of these devices can help you to identify your pelvic floor or progress your current routine. We don’t recommend using a Kegel exerciser until you are 6 weeks postpartum. Simple pelvic contractions are the safest method to use whilst you are pregnant.

Resistance Device

These types work by adding resistance to the vaginal muscles to improve strength. The work the same way as dumbbells or resistance bands. The two different resistance methods include:

  • Vaginal Cones – Small weights are inserted inside the vagina. They are designed to strengthen the muscles as you hold them in place. As your muscles strengthen you progress to heavier weights. They are usually easy to use and discreet to use.
  • Coil Springs – A long plastic tube is inserted into the vagina. You them open it slightly until you feel a stretch (like a speculum examination). The idea it to perform your kegels against the resistance of the coils. As you progress you can insert more coils for more resistance.

Electronic Device

A small device is placed inside your vagina. The device begins to give gentle electrical pulses to prompt you to contract. If you have very weak pelvic floor muscles you can begin by allowing the pulse to stimulate the muscles.

These devices are fantastic for complete beginners or if you have poor sensation. They help you to locate the muscles you need to focus on. They can often prevent you for doing the exercises in the wrong area which can lead to harm.

Biofeedback (Perinometer)

These are modern home use devices based on medical monitors used by incontinence nurses. A small sensor is placed into the vaginal and picks up feedback from your pelvic floor. The strength, length and frequency of your contractions is recorded on a hand held device. The feedback is given on a small screen or connected to an app.

These devices are fantastic for prompting you through specialist programs. It’s important to vary the type of pelvic floor exercises you do to reach all the muscles. These devices give you a full workout based on physiotherapy exercises. They are usually the most expensive type to buy. Investing in a good device will motivate you to use it more to get your money’s worth from it.


Benefits of Kegel Exercises

Simple pelvic floor exercises can prevent a lot health problems in later life. Let’s look at how daily Kegel exercises can benefit your life.

Stop Incontinence

We bet you know at least one mom who passes urine when they laugh, sneeze, cough or jump. That’s known as stress incontinence and is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor surrounds the area that control your urine flow and by tightening it you stop the leaks. Having children usually causes this and it will continue and worsen if you don’t do something about it.
By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles you can prevent the problem from extending to your rectum. This will cause you to experience fecal incontinence.

Prevent Prolapse

As you get older and have more children you weaken the area around the cervix. As these muscle grow weaker then cannot hold the cervix in place. This results in the cervix starting to bulge or ‘prolapse’ out of the vagina. A prolapse may require a vaginal ring (pessary) to keep it in place. Some sever cases may even require surgery.
You can prevent this happening by strengthening your pelvic floor. Your muscle will be strong enough to hold your cervix in place and prevent a prolapse happening.

Better Sex

If you have noticed a lack of sensation or weak orgasms since giving birth your pelvic floor is to blame. Strengthening this area will tighten the muscles and increase the sensation. You partner will probably notice a difference too. You can show off your tricks by ‘squeezing’ you partner when he is inside you.

pelvic floor care

Kegel Exerciser Buying Guide

Choosing the best Kegel exerciser that is right for you will depend on the benefits they offer. Make a list of what you need and compare it against any potential devices you are considering buying.

Usage

Beginner – If you are new to Kegels or have a weak pelvic floor you’ll need to start small. You should opt for light weight that you can steadily increase. An electric trainer is another great option for detecting the muscle you need to target. You may want to avoid biofeedback models until your contractions are strong enough to register on the device.

Advanced – If you are well practiced with Kegel exercises you may be looking for an aid to advance your muscles. We recommend using heavier weights, coil resistance or a device with an advanced training program. Investing in a good system will last you for years.

Ease of use

Picture yourself using the device daily. Are you tech savvy enough to use an electronic device? Do you something that prompts you to do your Kegels every day?

Set up – How easy is the device to use? Resistance methods are fairly simple and require nothing more than insertion. Electronic devices may need set up, adjusted or connected to an iOS device. If the device is adjustable is it easy to change settings?

Portability – You may want to use your pelvic floor device when you are out and about, or if you travel a lot. A small device is easy to store and also discreet enough to carry around without provoking questioning. Some devices may have an embarrassing shape if discovered by someone else.

Cleaning – Your device will need to be kept clean to prevent infection in your intimate area. The material should be waterproof, smooth surface, free from sharp edges and wipe able.

Comfort

You will be placing your Kegel device in a very sensitive area, so comfort is a must. If your device is uncomfortable it will demotivate you from using it every day. Some women find lubricant helps for comfortable use of a Kegal device.

Material – The best material for a Kegel device is a medical grade silicone. It’s soft, smooth, flexible and washable. Other devices may use medical grade plastics or metals which are smooth and easy to use but may be too firm for some women.

Size – This will affect comfort and the device may be too big or small for you. Either way this can make it difficult for the device to stay in place or work effectively. For vaginal cones you need to use a weight which provides you with enough resistance to be effective.

Shape – The shape of the device can determine how comfortable is for you. Some women prefect a rounded cylinder shape, and other prefer a wide ball or teardrop shape. Ultimately it’s down to preference or trial and error.

Cost

A Kegel exerciser can be quite a big investment. You want to make sure you are getting the right one for your lifestyle. You should also consider the hidden cost involved.

Device – This will be your biggest cost. You will find great quality devices to suit all budgets. The prices we found during our researched ranged from $20 to $200.

Maintenance – Consider if your device will require you to buy further equipment to keep it performing well. Some devices are battery operated and you may need to keep a supply hand to prevent it running out of power.

Warranty – Companies that offer a long length warranty gives you faith in the reliability of the product. Always check what’s covered beforehand. Read their policy on shipping should you need to send the item back for repair or replacement.

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12 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Miscarriage http://storkmama.com/reduce-your-risk-of-miscarriage/ http://storkmama.com/reduce-your-risk-of-miscarriage/#respond Mon, 22 Aug 2016 08:00:51 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=584 Sadly 1 in 4 women will miscarry in their childbearing years. Early pregnancy loss is often unexpected and often can’t be prevented. Up to 80% of these losses will occur in the first trimester (up to 12 weeks). Yet there are ways you can reduce your risk of miscarriage by making some lifestyle changes. 12 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Miscarriage 1. Stop Smoking You are probably already aware that smoking is harmful to both you and baby.  Smoking reduce the amount of oxygen to baby which puts you at higher risk of miscarriage. If someone else in your

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Sadly 1 in 4 women will miscarry in their childbearing years. Early pregnancy loss is often unexpected and often can’t be prevented. Up to 80% of these losses will occur in the first trimester (up to 12 weeks). Yet there are ways you can reduce your risk of miscarriage by making some lifestyle changes.

Reduce Your Risk of Miscarriage

12 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Miscarriage

1. Stop Smoking

You are probably already aware that smoking is harmful to both you and baby.  Smoking reduce the amount of oxygen to baby which puts you at higher risk of miscarriage. If someone else in your house smoke encourage them to give up too. Research has shown that passive smoke is just as bad for your baby. Second hand smoke can linger for up to 5 hours, even when windows and doors are open.

Ask your care giver if they provide a smoking cessation service to give you support. Giving up smoking will prevent future pregnancy complications. As a smoker your baby is at higher risk of premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, cot death and asthma.

2. Ditch the Drugs

Any drugs you take in pregnancy can affect your baby. That includes those on prescription, over the counter, herbal remedies or illegal substances. Recreational drugs such as cocaine, crack, heroin and amphetamines are known to increase the risk of miscarriage. These drugs affect baby’s blood supply and brain development. If you feel you are addicted to drugs discuss with your doctor to get help.

If you are taking prescription drugs discuss their use with your doctor. Do this as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Never stop taking your medication cold turkey as it may affect your condition. You doctor May advice you to stop taking the medication, change the type or alter the dosage for safe use in pregnancy.

3. Say No to Alcohol

It is unknown how much alcohol is safe to take in pregnancy. Excessive drinking is known to be linked to higher risk of miscarriage. Drinking alcohol in pregnancy is also linked with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorders (FASD). This is a range of physical, mental, behavioral and learning disabilities. Seek help if you feel like you cannot give up alcohol during your pregnancy.

Because there is no ‘safe’ limit the recommendation is to avoid alcohol completely. Try some great alcohol free wines or beers if you have a special occasion during your pregnancy. If you choose to continue drinking it is believe that you should drink no more than 1-2 units per week.

4. Reduce Caffeine Intake

Studies have shown that consuming over 200mg of caffeine per day doubles your risk of miscarriage. Caffeine is found in a lot more than your coffee so it can quickly add up. Here are some figures to give you an idea of what you’re consuming:

  • Instant Coffee (per cup) 75mg
  • Brewed Coffee (per cup) 100mg
  • Regular tea (per cup) 50mg
  • Regular Cola (per can) 40mg
  • Energy Drinks (per can) 80mg
  • Chocolate (per bar) 50mg

We recommend cutting back you intake of these drinks. If you feel you can’t go without then opt for a de-caff or caffeine free versions.

5. Watch Your Weight

Having a BMI over 30 or under 18 in pregnancy puts you at greater risk of miscarriage. The aim is to maintain a healthy weight with a balanced diet and exercise. Your doctor may wish to refer you to a dietician to create a diet plan for you to follow.

Weight loss in pregnancy is not recommended as it can harm your baby. However women with a raised BMI are expected to gain less weight. The aim is no more than 11-20lbs. This accounts for growth such as baby, placenta, fluid and blood.

6. Get a Work Assessment

If you work in a high risk area you may want to inform you employer of your pregnancy as soon as possible. Your employer should do a risk assessment of your workplace and alter any duties deemed as putting your baby at risk.  Jobs that increase your risk of miscarriage involve:

Hazardous substances – This include infection risk and chemical use.

Excessive standing – Longer than 2-3 hours at a time without a break.

Night shift – Long hours and unsocial shifts as well as early starts, last finishes and overtime.

Work related violence – Threatened abuse work such as security, police or mental health care.

Radiation exposure – Work which includes x-rays or scanning.

7. Be Aware Of Infection

Undiagnosed infections are thought to be a main cause of many miscarriages. These can include urine infection, sexually transmitted disease or the flu. Situation that put you at great risk of infection include food poisoning and cleaning out cat litter trays.  You may also want to check that you have had all your immunizations such as rubella, as your immune system is weaker in pregnancy.

If you are feeling unwell with a fever or shivers then contact your caregiver straight aware. You probably need antibiotics to clear an infection and may need admitted to hospital for further investigations.

8. Go To Appointments

During pregnancy you are scheduled appointments to get an overall health check each time. Things can change quickly in pregnancy and your care provider may need to refer you for further care. Your first appointment is essential to pick up on any conditions you may have or what support you need in pregnancy.

You will have regular bloods and be offered screening tests and scans to detect any issue with you or baby. Some conditions may put you at great risk of miscarriage and need managed to reduce this risk to you and baby. Use this time to ask your caregiver any questions or address any concerns.

9. Avoid Certain Foods

In pregnancy there are food which can make you ill or put your baby at risk. Food poisoning is a common cause of miscarriage, due to bacteria known as listeria toxoplasma or salmonella. Foods at greatest risk of contamination are:

  • Unpasteurized Milk
  • Blue or soft cheese
  • Raw or under cooked meat
  • Pate
  • Raw or under cooked eggs
  • Raw Shellfish

Foods which can cause a risk to your baby include:

  • Liver Products – Any food which contains high levels of vitamin A can be harmful to your baby. This is why you should avoid regular vitamin supplements as they include vitamin A.
  • Deep Sea fish – Shark, swordfish and marlin should be avoided. Oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines and trout must be limited as they contain high levels of mercury which can affect baby’s brain development.

Eating fresh fruit and vegetable daily and take a vitamin supplement will half your risk of miscarriage. Remember to use a pregnancy specific vitamin supplement, click here for our top recommendations.

10. Get Stress under Control

Research shows that women who feel excessive stress in the first 3 months of pregnancy are more likely to miscarry. Try to identify exactly what triggers your stress throughout the day.  Tips such as getting more sleep, better time management and relaxation techniques will all help relieve the stress.

Pregnancy itself can make you more stressed especially if you’ve miscarried before. You may want to ask your doctor if they can do an early scan if you feel it will ease your mind.

11. Brush Your Teeth

Poor dental hygiene puts you at greater risk of miscarriage than if you regularly attend a dentist. Pregnancy can really affect your teeth. The progesterone hormone can cause swelling, loose teeth, sensitivity and plaque. Brush your teeth  twice a day with fluoride based toothpaste for two minutes each time.

Regularly visit your dentist for routine appointments. If your gums are bleeding and it doesn’t resolve make an appointment with your dentist or hygienist.  If you suffer a lot from morning sickness avoid brushing immediately. The acid can erode your teeth quickly. An alternative is to rinse your mouth with alcohol free mouthwash.

12. Know Your Genetics

Recurrent miscarriage can be caused by genetic disorders preventing baby from developing. If you have a family or pregnancy history affected by an abnormality you should seek genetic counseling. You will be offered both screening and diagnostic tests in pregnancy to detect your risk of genetic disorder.

If you have a family history of neural tube defect such as cystic fibrosis then taking folic acid can reduce this developing. Opt for a high 5mg dose is to improve your baby’s brain and spinal cord growth.

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15 Ways to Bond with Your Baby in the Womb http://storkmama.com/bond-with-your-baby-in-the-womb/ http://storkmama.com/bond-with-your-baby-in-the-womb/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2016 05:00:46 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=560 The early weeks of pregnancy can seem surreal. You’re feeling rubbish and you don’t have much to show yet. Once you have that first ultrasound scan it starts to hit home. Your bump will soon grow and you’ll start to feel baby kicking. This little bundle will soon be the focus of your life. When is better than now to start getting to know this new little person? Let’s look at some fun ways you can bond with your baby in the womb. Bond with Your Baby in the Womb 1. Belly Cast A of your bump is a great

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The early weeks of pregnancy can seem surreal. You’re feeling rubbish and you don’t have much to show yet. Once you have that first ultrasound scan it starts to hit home. Your bump will soon grow and you’ll start to feel baby kicking.

This little bundle will soon be the focus of your life. When is better than now to start getting to know this new little person? Let’s look at some fun ways you can bond with your baby in the womb.

Bond with Your Baby in the Womb unborn

Bond with Your Baby in the Womb

1. Belly Cast

A belly cast of your bump is a great keepsake of your pregnancy. The cast is made with plaster and gauze strips. You can even decorate the cast and hang it in the nursery. You’ll probably want to leave this until the third trimester when your bump is fully grown.

If you have space make a series of casts throughout your pregnancy to show how your body has changed. This activity can help you come to term with accepting your changing pregnant body.

2. Choose a Nickname

Give your baby a nickname before you choose their official one. It’s a great way to give them personality before you meet them. You can choose a common nickname such as bump, bean or peanut. You may find yourself making an inside joke with you partner about how baby looks in a scan photo. Another common theme is naming them after the size comparison item of your ‘pregnancy by week’ books or emails.

3. Dance

The rhythmic movement of dance can help you make your baby feel calm. Simple hip swaying is great way to rock baby in the womb. Dancing releases happy hormones which can improve your mood and improve your babies development. You can even continue the movements whilst in labor as a distraction, keep you mobile and improve contractions.

4. Doppler

A home Doppler can be used for you to hear your baby’s heartbeat. The sound of baby’s heartbeat can make you feel closer to them. We do recommend that if there are any complications you should never rely on a home Doppler for reassurance. The sounds you are hearing can be the placenta, cord or doubling of your own heart sounds. Trained professionals detect more than the heart rate. If you have any concerns about your baby, consult with your caregiver for advice as soon as possible.

5. Flashlight Game

From around 16 weeks your baby will begin to react to light. The intensity is similar to what you see when you close your eyes in bright sunlight. Your baby will see shades of red and orange. Some babies like the light and others try to turn away from it. Lay in a darkened room and shine a strong flashlight on your tummy to see if baby reacts. Don’t be put off if baby doesn’t react in the early months you can try again as baby grows.

6. Movement Matters

From 24 weeks your baby will start to have a regular pattern of movements. Some babies are very active, others are a bit more laid back. You will notice your baby move more during certain periods of the day. Tracking movement is exciting and help you feel connected to your baby. The sensation of movement may change as baby grows.  A reduction in number of movements is a sign baby may be distressed so contact your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns.

7. Music

Playing music to your baby in the womb can be very soothing to them. You don’t need to play classical music if it is not your usual style. Using speakers to play your regular tunes is a great way for baby to hear the rhythm. You can now buy bump phones which can play music directly into your bump. Just remember not to play it too loud or constantly. Research show that ideally sound should be kept under 50 decibels for safety.

8. Nesting

In the third trimester you may have a sudden urge to prepare for babies arrival. This usually includes cleaning the house, prepping the nursery or washing all of baby’s clothes. It’s a natural instinct mothers have to prepare themselves for baby’s arrival. You are providing a safe and caring environment for your precious baby. Nothing is safe from this instinct, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly have the urge to defrost the freezer.

9. Progression Photos

Another amazing keepsake for you and baby is to take weekly progression photos. Head over to Pinterest for some inspiration. You can simply show off your growing bump. Or add a little flair by including your partner, weekly updates props or pets. Start with a positive test and finish with a photo of your baby when they are a few days old.

10. Read To Baby

Baby’s sense of hearing develops at around 12 weeks old. They are well tuned to the constant noises of your heart, lungs and other organs. They can hear muffled sounds and adjust to the tone of your voice and those in your family. Reading books directly to you bump gives you both time to relax. A great idea is to start reading a story you will read to baby when they arrive.

11. Talk to Bump

Both you and your partner should regularly talk to your bump. Once baby arrives they will already recognize the difference in sounds. Hearing you talk can also be calming as it makes them feel as safe as they were in the womb. Singing to baby can make them more responsive to your voice during play time.

12. Scan Pictures

An ultrasound scan is they only way you can ever see your baby before they are born. If your caregiver allows get some photos printed during the scan. It’s fun for you and your partner to try and guess who baby looks like from the family. Do they have daddy’s nose or mom’s pouty lips? 3D scans can give you more in-depth detail of baby than a regular 2d scan.

13. Tummy Massage

Relaxation in pregnancy is needed often. Why not get some luxury massage oil (safe for maternity use) and give your bump a massage. You can do it yourself and have a good feel of baby’s lumps and bumps. Try and guess if it’s a hand, foot or tiny bottom you are feeling.

For family bonding your partner can give you a massage too. This also helps them to realize just how much work goes into growing a wriggly baby.

14. Visualization

A great way to bond with your baby is to imagine what they will be like as they grow. This may be easier if you know the sex of your baby. Imagine paying soccer with your active boy of braiding your little girl’s hair. Don’t try to make it too perfect or it can put pressure on you when baby arrives. Try to imagine the naughty things kids can get up to too.

15. Write a Letter

Take the time whilst you are on maternity leave to write a letter to your unborn baby. You can tell them about their personality or even the music like to move to. A list of hopes and dreams for them is nice touch. As they grow you can let them read the letter as a keepsake memory.

Do you have any bonding tips you’d like to share with other pregnant moms? Then leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

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Pelvic Floor Exercises During Pregnancy and After Birth http://storkmama.com/pelvic-floor-exercises-during-pregnancy/ http://storkmama.com/pelvic-floor-exercises-during-pregnancy/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 05:00:24 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=551 Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy are vital for female health. These are more commonly known as Kegels or pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT). You probably associate them with moms or older ladies. They are a great way to strengthen the muscles in your vagina. Let’s dive in and discover just why you need to start going your Kegels today. What is the Pelvic Floor? Think of the pelvic floor as a hammock of muscles between your tail bone and your pubic bone. They hold all of your pelvic organs in place e.g. vagina, uterus, bowels and bladder. A normal pelvic

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Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy are vital for female health. These are more commonly known as Kegels or pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT). You probably associate them with moms or older ladies. They are a great way to strengthen the muscles in your vagina. Let’s dive in and discover just why you need to start going your Kegels today.

Pelvic Floor Exercises during Pregnancy

What is the Pelvic Floor?

Think of the pelvic floor as a hammock of muscles between your tail bone and your pubic bone. They hold all of your pelvic organs in place e.g. vagina, uterus, bowels and bladder. A normal pelvic floor allows you to control these organs such as peeing, pooing and passing wind.

If you’ve ever stopped yourself peeing mid flow or held in wind then you’ve used your pelvic floor muscles.

pelvic floor muscles

Pelvic Floor in Pregnancy

Pregnancy affects the pelvic floor in a lot of different ways. Let’s look at how pregnancy can cause the pelvic floor muscles to weaken.

  • Weight – Your pelvic floor has to cope with the weight of a growing baby. With the average baby weighting around 7lbs or more, that’s a lot of stain on a small area.
  • Labor – The pushing and exertion of labor can cause you to lose sensation in the pelvic floor for a few days.
  • Damage – Tearing or cuts are common in labor. Most of these will occur on the pelvic floor muscles. Any tear that needs stitches will leave weakens scar tissues on the pelvic floor.

This is the damage you cause with each pregnancy. Now times that by how many children you plan to have and you can see how you are affected over time. You should start practicing pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible. Whether you are pregnant or trying to conceive or postpartum your body will benefit.

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises during Pregnancy

You may be wondering just what benefit doing pelvic floor exercises will have to you. You’ll see from these benefits that a weak pelvic floor can have a pretty big impact of your life.

Avoid Urinary Incontinence

Have you ever heard of moms who pee when they sneeze, laugh or go on a trampoline? That because they have a weak pelvic floor. The stress of these activities causes an unintentional leak of urine. Strengthening the pelvic floor supports the area around the bladder.

Better Sex

A weak pelvic floor can result in a loss of sensitivity during sex. IT may also prevent women form being able to orgasm. Tightening the pelvic floor will increase sensation and result in stronger orgasms for you.

Prevent Prolapse

Without the support from your pelvic floor muscles your cervix can start to bulge out of your vagina. This often happens to women who have had a long, difficult labor or lots of vaginal deliveries. Some women don’t need treatment, however if it becomes problematic you may require a ring pessary or surgery.

Assist Labor

Learning to control your pelvic floor muscles can assist your labor. Strong pelvic floor muscles control the delivery so babies so not delivery quickly putting you are greater risk of tearing. Your pelvic floor will help to turn your baby’s head in your pelvis to get them into the best position for being born.

pelvic floor excercises

How to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

These are the most common exercise physiotherapists use to strengthen your pelvic floor.

Basic Pelvic floor contraction

Get yourself into a comfortable position either standing, sitting or lying. Your knee should be slightly apart. Pretend you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind. You will feel a ‘squeeze and lifting’ sensation in the lower half of your body. Relax the muscles back to normal.

It important to target the right muscles. Otherwise you may not make any improvement or worsen your symptoms. Make sure you are not:

  • Clenching your butt
  • Squeezing your legs together
  • Holding your breath

Remember quality of pelvic floor exercises is better than quantity. To check if you are doing them right you can try these methods:

  1. Use a mirror – Look at your vagina in the mirror as you do the exercise. You should see your perineum (flat area between your vagina and anus) moving away from the mirror.
  2. Touch the perineum – Reach down and touch the perineum as your do your exercises. You should feel the squeeze and lift motion on your hand.
  3. Squeeze your finger – With clean hands insert the tip of a finger or thumb into the vagina. So a pelvic floor contraction. You should feel your vagina tightening around your finger.
  4. Squeeze your partner – During sex you can contact your pelvic floor. Your partner should feel your vagina tightening.

Pelvic Floor Exercise Routine

It’s important to alternate the type of pelvic contraction. This helps to give your pelvic floor a range of motion and strengthens specific muscles.

Quick Squeezes

This technique gets you to do quick rhythmic squeezes lasting up to one second each. Repeat the exercise until your pelvic floor gets tired. Aim to do this three times a day. Note how many repetitions you can do and aim to improve this over time.

Slow Squeezes

Start with a basic pelvic floor contraction and hold it for up to 10 seconds. Let your muscles relax for around 4 seconds. Repeat the exercise until you muscles get tired. Do this 3 times a day and aim to improve the repetitions and length of time you hold the contraction for.

When to do them

During pregnancy

Aim to do your pelvic floor exercise at least three times a day. It can be difficult to remember to do them when you first start. Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you. There are also apps available to remind you to do your pelvic floors.

We highly recommend doing perineal massage in pregnancy. This helps to stretch out the skin on the perineum. The massage also improves circulation to the area. This helps to prevent tears and episiotomy during labor.

Postpartum

If you had a normal delivery you can start your Kegels as soon as the sensation returns. For instrumental or C-sections births you need to wait until your catheter is out. You may also want to wait until your urine output has returned to normal to prevent worsening any post-delivery problems.

You will need to continue doing your pelvic floor exercises daily for the rest of your life. If you stop doing them your pelvic floor may weaken again. Starting your pelvic floor exercises early will prevent problems which worsen with age and menopause.

Pelvic Floor Trainers

You should always start out by using basic pelvic floor exercises. They are free and effective with proper technique. There are devices available to aid your pelvic floor exercise. These should not be used as a replacement for regular pelvic floor exercise. They are more suitable for use after you’ve had baby but wait until you are at least 6 weeks postpartum. Discuss with your health care provider if they think these devices are OK for you to use during pregnancy.

Electrical Stimulation

This type of device uses an electric pulse to tighten the pelvic floor muscles for you. It’s like a slender tone for your vagina. A small probe device is place inside the vagina for around 20 minutes per session. The device will pulse and tighten the vagina.

The advantage of this device is that it can help women with very weak pelvic floor muscles. It can also you get started if you have poor sensation and can’t locate the correct muscles.

The drawback is that manual exercises as much more effective. IF you are committed to 20 minutes a day for your pelvic floor, that time is best used doing contractions. Use our tips above to check you are targeting the correct muscles with your contractions, and do them regularly. It’s the only way they will work for you.

Bio Feedback (Perinometer)

This device work by detecting the strength of your pelvic floor. A senor is place into the vagina and feedback your contractions to a small screen. The device tell you the strength of your contractions. There are usually in pre-set programs which prompt you to squeeze or release.

These machine will only work well if you do your Kegels correctly. They are best used by those who are intermediate or experienced with pelvic floor exercises. Weak pelvic floor muscles tend not to register well on these devices. We highly recommend one of these devices for daily use as part of your long term pelvic floor maintenance.

Vaginal Cones (Weights)

These are small weights you insert into the vagina. The idea is to hold them in by squeezing the pelvic floor muscles. You can then build up to heavier weights as your pelvic floor strengthens.

These are a fairly inexpensive device and easy to maintain. We highly recommend vaginal cones for those who have mastered the contraction. They are great for building up extra strength and giving the pelvic floor more resistance.

best pelvic floor device reviews

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Vaginal Stitches after Birth – Ultimate Care Guide http://storkmama.com/vaginal-stitches-after-birth/ http://storkmama.com/vaginal-stitches-after-birth/#comments Sun, 14 Aug 2016 08:00:05 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=538 If you have a deep tear or episiotomy (controlled cut) you will have received vaginal stitches after birth. Learning how to care for your stitches will help you to heal quick and well. Stork Mama has created this guide to inform you of everything you need to know about caring for your stitches. We’ll discuss which products you should stock up on and any questions you may have. First let’s discuss basic care of vaginal stitches. Pin for Later Vaginal Stitches after Birth – Ultimate Care Guide 1. Self Care Hand Washing Whether you have had stitches or not, hand

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If you have a deep tear or episiotomy (controlled cut) you will have received vaginal stitches after birth. Learning how to care for your stitches will help you to heal quick and well. Stork Mama has created this guide to inform you of everything you need to know about caring for your stitches. We’ll discuss which products you should stock up on and any questions you may have. First let’s discuss basic care of vaginal stitches.

Pin for Later

vaginal stitches after birth care guide

Vaginal Stitches after Birth – Ultimate Care Guide

1. Self Care

Hand Washing

Whether you have had stitches or not, hand washing is important after delivery. It prevents the spread of infection, which happens fast with open wounds. You will be dealing with a lot of blood, poop and vomit in the first few weeks so your hands get dirty quickly. A simple hand wash before and after each trip to the loo will reduce your risk of infection in your stitches.

Hygiene

The thought of cleaning your stitches can make you anxious. They are already sore, and you don’t want to irritate or pull at them. Check out our tips for keeping your stitches clean:

Washing

It is recommended you clean your stitches daily. Your vagina has a fine balance of pH and bacteria to keep it healthy. Washing with harsh soaps can disturb this delicate balance. It is recommended you wash your stitches with plain or salted water only, until they heal. You don’t need to touch the stitches, to clean.  Simply sit in the bath water, sitz bath or use a spray down with a slow water flow from the shower.

Drying

Pat drying is recommended to remove excess water after washing. Do not rub the stitches as toweling material can easily catch and pull them. Drying with an old cotton t-shirt is a great way to avoid snags. Give your vagina as much chance to air dry as possible during the day. This will allow air to circulate and improve the healing process.

Douching

Do not douche your vagina for at least 6 weeks after delivery. Even if you’re perineal stitches have healed as your vagina and cervix may become irritated.

Toiletries

Avoid using any perfumed toiletries until the stitches have healed. This includes creams, lotions or perfumes. The chemicals can cause itching or irritation to the area. Medical products or specialized perineal products can be used. These will be tested as safe for use and can help encourage healing.

Bleeding

You will bleed for up to 6 weeks after delivery. You’ll have to use sanitary towels to catch the blood loss or ‘Lochia’.  This type of bleeding should not be treated as a normal period.

Maternity Pads

Maternity pads are the best option for postpartum bleeding. Let’s look at the two options and how they can affect your stitches.

  • Disposable Pads – These pads are for single use only. They are great for hygiene, convenience and absorbency. The drawbacks are that they are made of plastic, prevent air flow and have a tendency to rub stitches.
  • Reusable Pads – You can wash these pads and use again. These pads are breathable, comfortable, and don’t irritate stitches.  The biggest drawback is the regular washing. We would recommend reusable pads over disposable if you can put up with the extra task.
  • Tampons – Never use these for postpartum bleeding. They greatly increase your risk of infection after birth. You also cannot monitor you bleeding as easily as pads.

>> Click Here For Our Top Postpartum Pad Picks <<

Observe

Postpartum bleeding needs to be monitored for signs of infection, clots or excessive loss. This means you’ll need to change your pads regularly. Every 2-3 hours is the average for most women; however, sooner if they are heavily soiled. Any excessive bleeding, clots or offensive smells should be reported to your caregiver as soon as possible.

keeping stitches clean

2. Comfort

Clothing

Opt for loose clothing made from breathable fibers, especially underwear. This will help the airflow to the vagina. Underwear should be changed daily or when soiled. Smooth materials such as cotton are less likely to pull on stitches, are anti-bacterial and promote airflow. For sleeping, night gowns are preferable to pajama bottoms to prevent friction or irritation.

Position

Keeping pressure from the stitches will reduce swelling and encourage healing.

  • Rest – In the first week rest as much as possible. Your body needs to conserve energy to recover. Try to sit down gently and lie on your side. Elevating your feet with a pillow can improve circulation to the stitches.
  • Mobility – When your energy levels begin to return, you can begin to move around more. Prolonged sitting puts a lot of pressure on the vaginal area and can increase pain. Keeping mobile also improves circulation and prevents blood clots, especially if you’ve had an instrumental delivery.
  • Exercise – You probably won’t feel up to doing too much. Gentle exercises are encouraged, such as walking or yoga. Avoid exercises such as weightlifting, cycling, horse riding or squatting, which put pressure on the perineum. All of these can increase pressure on the stitches, which can slow the healing process.

Relief

Your stitches should not be painful; however, they can be uncomfortable, tight or itchy. Try these tips to get some relief.

Over The Counter

Regular painkillers such as Tylanol or Advil will give you pain relief and reduce the swelling. Try to avoid codeine based pain relief as this can make you constipated. Numbing sprays are also ideal for quick targeted pain relief. If you require stronger painkillers for severe discomfort, you may need your stitches reviewed for signs of infection.

Homeopathic

If you prefer to avoid over the counter based medication, you can use homeopathic remedies. Some favorites for perineal care are:

  • Witch Hazel – The healing properties include relief for swelling, itching, bleeding and pain. You can see why witch hazel is a favorite to use after birth. You can buy astringent pads to wipe with or add a few drops onto your maternity pads.
  • Aloe Vera – Known for cooling skin and relieving swelling. Try adding some organic aloe vera gel to your maternity pads to sooth the area all day long.
  • Lavender – Add a few drops of oil to your bath or sitz bath. Lavender is known for helping swelling, preventing infection and relaxation.
  • Arnica – Well known for its ability to reduce bruising, swelling and pain. Take these in tablet form or use as a gel on your postpartum pads.

Thermal Therapy

  • Cold – Most women find that keeping the area cold provides a lot of relief. Ice packs or pads help reduce swelling and prevent stitches feeling tight and itchy. Keeping the area at a lower temperature prevents bacteria from growing.
  • Heat – Occasional warm baths are great for improving circulation to the area. This helps to promote healing of the wound.

resting stitches

3. Intimate Issues

The thought of going to the toilet or every having sex again can be petrifying. Everything will feel so tight, tender and uncomfortable.

Toilet Issues

Pee

Going for a pee with stitches can be a bit of a stingy experience. Increasing your fluid intake will dilute the urine. It will also help prevent you developing a urine infection which will add to your pain. Try using a perineal bottle to spray water on the area as you pee. A diaper sprayer or bidet is great for avoiding wiping with toilet paper and causing further irritation. If you have trouble with the volume, sensation or control of urine tell your healthcare provider immediately.

Poo

Most women fear their stitches bursting when they poo; however, this is rare. You won’t open your bowels for a few day after delivery. Try to avoid constipation by eating a good diet, increase fluids or using stool softeners. The best advice is to avoid straining otherwise you risk causing further swelling. A foot stool is great for raising your knees above your hips and creating natural squat position, which relaxes the bowel muscles. Try using a maternity pad pressed on the perineum for support. This will mentally stop you feeling like your insides will fall out when you go.

Use toilet paper or unscented moist wipes in a front to back motion. This prevents any bacteria from your poo from causing infection in your stitches.

Haemorrhoids

Pushing during delivery or when having a bowel movement can cause you to develop piles. These are small swollen blood vessels, which cause irritation and discomfort. If you bleed when pooing make sure it’s from the haemorrhoids rather than the stitches. Creams and suppositories can be used to ease them.

Sex

It is recommended you avoid sex up to 6 weeks postpartum.  Having sex during this time increases your changes of infection and can damage stitches.

  • Communicate – Talk to your partner about your fear of pain when resuming your sex life. You’ll probably feel quite tense and tender the first time. Lots of foreplay can help to loosen thing up and relax you. Hormone levels can increase vaginal dryness so opt for a water-based lubricant to make things easier.
  • Positions – You may want to avoid certain positions, which are too deep or affect the stitched area. Side lying and woman on top are good positions for controlling the depth and angle of penetration. If it feels painful, stop immediately or your risk causing damage to your vagina.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Start doing pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) as soon as you can after delivery. It’s important to keep doing them regularly to keep circulation food in this area. Strong pelvic floor muscles will prevent you from experiencing urinary incontinence or a prolapse in later life. Weak pelvic floor muscles can also make sex painful or decrease sensitivity. If you had a 3rd or 4th degree tear, a physiotherapist will usually give you specific pelvic floor exercises to do.

stitches after birth

4. Seeking Advice

You may need some advice if you have any concerns about your stitches. An examination or personalized care plan will be required from your health care provider.

Check Regularly

Best practice is to have a daily check of your stitches. Use good lighting and a mirror to get a clear view. The stitches should not have:

  • Gaps or broken stitches
  • A blood-filled lump
  • Oozing pus
  • Excessive redness
  • Feel hot to touch

If you notice any of these signs or they are combined with pain, excessive swelling, an offensive smell or fever get immediate medical attention. These are signs of infection, which needs treated immediately with antibiotics.

Follow Up

If you feel your stitches have not healed properly discuss this at your postpartum check-up. Common symptoms include pain from the site, pain when urinating, repeat infection or painful sex. Your stitches may require re-suturing.

For severe tears (3rd and 4th degree) you will need to attend regular follow-up appointments. This will include advice from a team of professionals such as gynecologists, urology, physiotherapists, dieticians, mental health team and sexual counseling. They will develop a care plan to help you cope with the long-term effects of a severe tear, which can be life changing.

tearink during birth article

12 Perineal Care Products You Need

Looking to make a quick recovery after delivery? We’ve gathered a list of products you should stock up on if you have vaginal stitches. These products are designed to aid vaginal healing, tackle discomfort and prevent wound infection.

1. Cooling Pads

Keeping the perineum cool can help reduce painful swelling of the stitches. Pick up some specialist gel pads which are soft and provide cooling relief to the vagina. You can also make you own by soaking and freezing regular maternity pads.

2. Cooling Spray

Having a cooling spray to hand can provide you with instant relief. Other relief methods such as bath are not convenient when you are on the go. Keep a small spray bottle in your handbag or change bag and always be prepared.

3. Hemorrhoid Relief

Vaginal delivery often results in hemorrhoids. These can add to the pain or irritation of stitches. You can opt for hemorrhoids treatment in cream, suppository of spray formulas. Remember not to stain when doing a poo as this can cause them or make them worse.

4. Pelvic Floor Trainer

Start your Kegel exercises as soon as you can after delivery. This will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to improve your recover after birth. A cut or tear will weaken these areas and can lead to future health issues such as incontinence, prolapse or painful sex. A pelvic floor trainer can be used 6 week postpartum to advance the strengthening of your pelvic floor muscles.

5. Maternity Pads

You will need maternity pads to absorb your bleeding after delivery. Your blood loss can tell you if you need medical help or show signs of infection. They can also provide cushioning or help keep soothing gels or cooling pads close to you stitches. Read our recommendations for the best maternity pads here.

6. Pain Killers

Birth tends to leave to feeling sore and stitches will add to the pain. Regular mild pain killers such a paracetamol or ibuprofen is great for tackling the pain. Keep these on hand for when you feel your stitches becoming uncomfortable. If the pain persists arrange for your caregiver to inspect your stitches.

7. Perineal Bottle

We recommend spraying water on the vagina as you pee to reduce the stinging sensation. Using a perineal bottle in an inexpensive way to do this. It also means you won’t need to wipe with rough, dry toilet paper. If you practically shower after every toilet trip why not opt for a toilet bidet unit.

8. Perineal Cushion

A donut cushion is ideal for relieving pressure from your perineum when sitting. Stitches increase swelling ,which worsens with extra weight. The cushion elevates the body and leaves the perineum free. This cushions are also great for hemorrhoids or tailbone pain after delivery.

9. Sitz Bath Soak

A sitz bath is a shallow bath used to soak only the perineal area. It helps you to improve hygiene and provide relief as your stitches heal. A sitz bath soak is a specialist product with natural ingredients to reduce perineal swelling and discomfort.

10. Stool Softener

You probably won’t poo until around 3 days after delivery. Having stitches can increase the fear of your first after birth poo. Get ahead of the game and start using a stool softener to prevent constipation when the time comes. Remember to combine it with a good diet and lots of water to get your bowel moving.

11. Underwear

Opt for cool, cotton based postpartum underwear. This allows you stitches to breathe to promote healing. The fabric should be smooth to prevent snagging or pulling at stitches. Some women even opt for disposable maternity pants to wear during the first week after delivery. Click here for our top postpartum underwear picks.

12. Witch Hazel Pads

We already know that witch hazel is perfect for perineal healing. It helps swelling, bleeding and reduces pain. Tucks witch hazel pads are great for using as a soft wipe after the toilet. You can also keep them on top of your maternity pad for ongoing cooling relief.

Vaginal Stitches After Birth FAQ

How long do stitches take to heal?

Stitches will dissolve by 10 days postpartum. It can then take your body up to 6 weeks to fully recover from the tear or cut. Depending on the extent of your cut or tear you may take up to 6 months to feel ‘normal’ down there.

Will I tear with my next baby?

Not necessarily. First time moms are more likely to tear than moms who have already given birth.  The skin is more stretchy and supple after your first labor. You may want to try perineal massage in the later stages of your next pregnancy.

What if my stitches won’t heal?

Sometimes stitches don’t fully dissolve and need to be removed. If your wound isn’t healing it may be a sign of infection. Depending on the severity of your tear it can take a long time to heal. If you have concerns about your stitches discuss them with your doctor or midwife. You may require surgical input to rectify the healing of your pelvic floor.

How soon can I go swimming with vaginal stitches?

It is advisable not to go swimming in a chlorinated pool for up to 6 weeks post-delivery. The chemicals can increase your risk of infection. However, you may wish to discuss this with your health care provider before your discharge home.

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