Healthy and Happy Postpartum | Baton Rouge, LA Birth Doula and Photographer

Postpartum.

This is a scary word for many, because postpartum goes with depression, right?  Wrong.

You CAN have a happy and healthy postpartum period with the right preparation and support. We are meant to be doted on and helped after we give birth, however, our society has drifted far away from this.  With your partner, create a Postpartum Plan and include ways family and friends can help out.  Here are some ways you can achieve that before baby arrives.

Visitors

Visitors can be a help or a hindrance.  A way to get a little use out of them is to give a task when they come over.  Anyone that has issue helping out, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule and baby is a bit older to visit.


 

Food

Invite some friends over for a day of cooking freezer meals! Or, create a meal train online and appoint a friend or family member to activate it once baby has arrived.  Ask friends and family to bring a small bag of groceries with your staple items when the come over to visit with you and baby.  These are simple and easy ways to make sure you are getting good nutrition without worry or hassle.


 

Self-Care

IS SO IMPORTANT!  Having a baby is an amazing and wonderful time, however, we can sometimes lose ourselves while taking care of a newborn (and siblings).  Make sure to carve out time in your day for a shower.  Wash your hair, brush your teeth, wear something comfortable yet new and clean (you can sometimes find yourself in the same yoga pants on Wednesday that you put on Monday), maybe even put on some light makeup. Seriously, you’ll feel like a new woman and more importantly, YOU.


 

Household Chores

Yes, the house can get a little messy, but if this is something that will induce anxiety, come up with a chore list to help keep up.  Ask visitors to pick a small task when they come over.  Move clothes from your washer to your dryer.  Load or unload the dishwasher.  Wipe down counters.  Again, anyone that has issue, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule to visit.


 

Sleep

“Sleep when baby sleeps!”

Everyone says it,  yet sometimes this can be difficult because it may be the only time you have to yourself, but sleep is so important to your physical and mental health.  Sleep deprivation can contribute to PPMD (Postpartum Mood Disorders).  If needed, feed baby and then hand him/her off to a family or friend so you can get a few hours sleep uninterrupted.


 

Activity

You really should spend a minimum of six weeks snuggling with your baby.  Even though you may feel recovered by week two or three, really take it easy and relax as much as possible.  Relaxing can be lying on the couch, or it can mean taking a light walk with baby in the sunshine.  Sitting or napping outdoors is also a wonderful way to relax, all while still getting a good ol’ dose of vitamin D. (make sure to keep both you and baby protected from the sun to avoid sunburns)


Ask

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Let your guard down and allow your ‘village’ to come in. People love to help out and you can use it, whether this is your first baby or your fifth.  Recruit those that will help you with your needs, but not tell you how you should be doing something.  If you ask them for advice, will they be able to give you good information that aligns with your beliefs?  Postpartum doulas can also be a great help in this time.

 


 

 

If you create a plan, have great support, and still experience symptoms beyond baby blues (lasting between days 3-10 in approximately 80% of women), do not hesitate to seek professional help.  You are not alone with the feelings you may be experiencing and there IS help available.

If the “Baby Blues” persist for two weeks or longer and/or if symptoms of the blues intensify, it is then considered to be a “Postpartum Depression” (PPD). 10-20% of postpartum women will experience PPD. Onset of PPD can be anytime during the first year after delivery, with the highest incidence of onset between 4 and 8 weeks postpartum.

PPD may last from 3 to 14 months or longer, if left untreated. Though most women recover within a year, the condition may become chronic if it goes untreated. Chronic depression may have significant effects on mother-baby attachment and bonding.

Symptoms of PPD include:

  • Sadness
  • Frequent crying
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite changes
  • Difficulty concentrating/making decisions
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Racing thoughts Agitation and/or persistent anxiety
  • Anger, Fear, and/or feelings of guilt Obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a person/parent
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Lack of concern about personal appearance
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Feeling disconnected from the baby
  • Possible suicidal thoughts

Although most symptoms of PPD are similar to those in a Major Depressive Disorder, many symptoms are unique to PPD, including feelings of anger, fear, or extreme feelings of guilt, obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a parent, extreme exhaustion yet difficulty sleeping, agitation, feelings of disconnection from the baby, and feeling a loss of control over one’s life. Read more about PPMD’s: http://psychotherapy.com/mom.html

PPMD Resource Guide

Emergency

911

Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center
24-hour Crisis Counseling and Emotional Support Line
(225) 924-3900
(800) 437-0303
http://www.brcic.org/home.aspx

National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website
800-273-8255

Baton Rouge Resources 

Cathy Figg Gaston
7920 Wrenwood Blvd, Suite D
Baton Roouge, LA
Cathygaston.lcsw@gmail.com
Trauma and PPMD Counsling and IBCLC

Victoria S. Benton, LPC
10985 N Harrells Ferry Rd #200
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
(225) 273-0106

Onnie Perdue (Christian Counselor)
Murphy Toerner & Associates
17170 Perkins Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
(225) 753-7773

Birth Center of Baton Rouge
Healing Birth Circle
3rd Monday of each month at BCBR, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Free, but please RSVP http://birthcenterbr.com/healing-birth-circle
(225) 761-1200

New Moms’ Hope: A Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Group (FREE)
2nd Thursday of each month, 7-8:30 p.m., in the Staff Development Classroom
Lane Regional Medical Center
6300 Main Street
Zachary, LA
Dana LeTard Vicellio, Ed.S., LPC-S, NCC, NCSC
(225) 658-4587

Baton Rouge General
Behavioral Health Services
8585 Picardy Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
(225) 387-7904

 

Online

Louisiana Postpartum Depression Support Group (must be invited in)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1377656825832510/

Life Line Crisis Chat http://www.crisischat.org/chat

 

For Fathers

http://www.postpartum.net/get-help/resources-for-fathers/

 

Providers

Ochsner Baton Rouge
17000 Medical Center Drive
(225) 761-5200

Jan Floyd, CNM
Bethanie Genre, CNM
Amanda Lewis, CNM
Melanie Weaver, CNM
Sharon Hedges, MD
Juan Vargas, MD

 

Woman’s Hospital
100 Woman’s Way
Baton Rouge, LA 70817

Ryan Dickerson, MD
Louisiana Woman’s Healthcare
(225) 201-2000
http://www.lwha.com/

Elizabeth Buchert, MD
Associates in Women’s Health
(225)-201-0505
http://drbuchert.com/

Recognizing When We Need Help

In light of the recent tragedy in CA, I would like to share a very short article on the differences of postpartum disorders. Please take the time to click on the links within the article.

http://www.atlantabirthcenter.org/2012/04/when-its-not-ppd-getting-the-right-diagnosis/

MOMS — So much of the time we all want to be the do-it-all-mom and don’t accept help when needed. If you are exhausted and need a break, ASK friends and family, IT’S OKAY. If you feel like something isn’t right, REACH OUT. Talk to another mom, contact your doula (we don’t abandon you after birth 😉 ), pump a bottle, have dad feed baby, and go back to bed. Sit outside or in front of a window, get your daily dose of SUNSHINE!  Please remember that postpartum disorders are not always immediate, sometimes it can take months for symptoms to show.  You grew a baby for 9-10 months and your hormones changed a lot, it’s going to take some time to adjust back to ‘normal’.

You are preparing for so much leading up to your birth, but so many do not think beyond that and is why I really encourage my clients to do a postpartum plan. Even though the questions seem trivial and silly, it makes a HUGE difference to have a plan in place. Not having to worry about the everyday tasks really alleviates pressure off of YOU. Who will do the laundry (huge if you’re having a c-section), what kind of meals will you prepare or will you have meals brought to you? Will family/friends visit? When will you take care of YOU (shower, get dressed, brush your teeth/hair)?

FAMILY & FRIENDS offer GENUINE help. Watch to see if mom is struggling, is she overly tired or anxious? Fears that seem beyond normal? Is she getting good food? Hydrated? Sleep? Babies are awesome, but they need good, strong, and healthy mamas. SO TAKE CARE OF THEM AND LISTEN TO THEIR CONCERNS!

Pesky Prodromal Labor | Baton Rouge, LA Doula & Birth Photographer

Pesky Prodromal Labor | Baton Rouge, LA Doula & Birth Photographer

Disclaimer:  All information expressed on this site is not to be taken as medical advice.  Please consult with your provider for more information.

I’ve been having contractions for weeks now, I’m dilated, I’m exhausted, but this baby isn’t coming!

Did you experience prodromal labor? Did you feel pressure from the outside world to have baby?  Prodromal labor, aka “False Labor”, can be very confusing!

23bw


Here are some ways to determine if you are experiencing  prodromal labor:

1.  Last for hours, days, or weeks (yes) before active labor begins.
2.  May feel like braxton hicks contractions but sometimes they can be much stronger.
3. Irregular in duration, length and intensity.  May seem regular up to a few hours, but fizzle out.
4.  May have a pattern and show up about the same time every day or night.
5.  Will usually stop after a few hours.
6.  May or may not be affected by your daily activity level.
7.  Your cervix may begin to dilate, and efface and you may lose your mucous plug.
8.  When in doubt, call your provider!


 

Prodromal labor contractions condition the uterus, and prepare the cervix for dilation and effacement and in some cases (like mine!) the cervix may even dilate and efface as a result. Many women head to the hospital only to find out after a few hours that it was ‘false labor’. In other words, the contractions stopped or are not progressing anything significantly. Being sent home can be emotionally confusing. You are left to wonder how you will know when it is the real thing. You might feel frustration going back to the hospital the next time, and then you wonder about giving birth on the side of the road!

Why am I getting “false contractions”?

This is a great question for your provider.  I don’t have an answer as to why, but can I share my personal experiences. I had prodromal labor with Every. Single. Pregnancy.  I was miserable, but finally by baby number 4, I figured out it’s just the way my body works!  I experience braxton hicks starting around week 16-20, this is pretty common for many moms, but at times they become ‘regular’ for hours on end, progressing nothing.  When I hit 34-36 weeks, I look like I’m in active labor, dilate to 3-4 cm, efface to 80-90% and everything STOPS.  I typically have a few more ‘episodes’ before true labor begins and then it’s a good 24 hours until I meet my little one.

Sometimes prodromal labor is being prolonged by mom herself.  Fears or anxieties , perhaps the fear connection is coincidental. It may also be that our bodies are just revving up for the big day, and needs a few practice sessions first. It may even be that baby is malpositioned, with his little head cocked slightly to the side (acynclitic head) or a posterior baby.

How do I stop these?  

Braxton hicks contractions will usually dissipate with the different things such as rest, changing your position, increasing water, and making sure your bladder is empty.  However, the problem with prodromal labor is that sometimes these things can make irritable contractions go away, but unfortunately there’s a good chance they will just keep coming.  You should always have an idea in an hour or two, most women do not have labors that fast, and if they do, there is no question that what they are experiencing is the real deal!

Tip!  Try some hands & knees positions and keep your hips tilted forward while you sit or stand.

Click here to check out the Miles Circuit!  

As hard as it is, the best thing you can try and do is relax and go with the flow. Utilize this time to practice your different coping methods you plan to use in labor.

Another excellent resource: http://spinningbabies.com/more-info/in-labor/362-starter-broken-when-early-labor-lingers-or-starts-and-stops