The benefits and risks of prenatal massage

For some women, the aches and pains of pregnancy seem to start as soon as they conceive.  Some women never complain and feel like they could run a marathon when they are expecting–others, well, not so much.  Trying to make due with a warm bath, and maybe even a maternity belt to help support your back and growing belly all work to a degree, but when you need more, many women turn to prenatal massage.  I never have been much of a massage gal, though I know that many people love it.  I have to say though, that I might have welcomed it during my pregnancies.   Continue reading “The benefits and risks of prenatal massage”

How Do You Know When You’re in Labor?

It’s perhaps one of the greatest questions every mom has–how will I know when I am in labor? When I was carrying my first child, I walked around for three weeks at 5 cm dilated, 80% effaced with a bulging bag of waters. If you don’t speak labor and delivery, that means I was facing every day with over half of my labor process already completed. Without a single contraction.    Continue reading “How Do You Know When You’re in Labor?”

Fun Facts About May Babies

Pregnant womenIs your baby going to be born in May?  If so, May is a wonderful month to bring a new life into this world.  May is a spring month in the northern hemisphere, one of the warmest spring months just before the heat of summer sets in.  The chill of winter is officially gone by May in most places.  In the southern hemisphere, May is a pleasant autumn month and offers a relief from the hotter months.

May takes its name from that of the Greek goddess Maia, whose Roman equivalent is Bona Dea.  Maia was considered a symbol of spring and fertility, both themes relating to your childbirth.  Many holidays fall in May including May Day, Beltane, a celebration of spring, and Cinco de Mayo.  Occasionally Easter falls in early May.  May is a heritage month for South Asians, Asian Pacific Americans, and Jewish Americans.  There are also some fun pop culture events like Zombie Awareness Month and the annual Eurovision contest!

If you’re a May baby, your birthstone is the emerald and your flower is the Lily of the Valley.  Lily of the Valley symbolizes sweetness, innocence and purity.  Emerald symbolizes love and fortune.  Emerald is considered a deflector of negative energy and an attractor of abundance, harmony, and love.  Emerald is worn to bring inspiration and to provide healing, patience, truth and wisdom in relationships.  If worn with diamond, the power of emerald can be amplified.  In folk remedies, emerald is recommended for blood and heart problems, childbirth, and detoxification.  It is a stone loved by ancient cultures for thousands of years.

Your zodiac sign is either Taurus (April 20-May 20) or Gemini (May 21-June 20).  If you are a Taurus, you are an earth sign, and you share the stability of the earth.  You may tend toward conservative choices, but you make a loyal and lasting companion.  In intense situations, you keep a level head, but if pushed over the line, you can explode.  If you have a baby in May who is a Taurus, you can expect him or her to perform well in school and later in work, particularly if a stable environment is provided which matches the Taurus personality.  Some famous Taurus personalities include Ulysses Grant (April 27) and Audrey Hepburn (May 4).

Gemini is a mutable air sign, and in many ways quite the opposite of Taurus.  If you are a Gemini, odds are you are energetic, fast paced, and constantly striving to learn new things.  You draw information and people together and can entertain and inform others.  You may become easily bored with tedious tasks or leave tasks unfinished unless they are very compelling.  If you have a Gemini baby in May, you can look forward to a child who will master the skills of communication early and learn at an incredible rate.  Your Gemini child will have a magnetic personality, but may neglect school tasks or chores (or relationships) unless constantly given new, exciting aspects to keep him or her engaged.  Famous Geminis include John F. Kennedy, (May 29), Marilyn Monroe (June 1), and Judy Garland (June 10).

Whether your baby is an energetic Gemini or a grounded Taurus, he or she will bring a unique inner strength to life as a child and later as an adult!

Congratulations to all expectant moms due in the month of May.

Baby care basics, the sequel

If you haven’t found yourself to be absolutely riveted to your seat by all the lovely details offered in the first post, then please, pull out some popcorn and get comfy for part two–its guaranteed to be a show stopper!

Honestly, I’m not trying to insult your intelligence. I just know that I see moms day in and day out that you might assume know everything, but it turns out they don’t. Especially when they leave a diaper on for twelve hours without changing it and then look at you like you’re crazy when you ask how many wet or dirty diapers they’ve changed…”aren’t you doing that?”  They ask.  And when I, (their nurse) inform them, that no, as long as the baby is in their room, the parents do the greatest part of the care, they just don’t know what to say.  It happens almost every day.

Seems like an obvious task–changing a diaper.  But for many, it’s just one of several key baby care basics that get skipped.    So, we’ve taken a look at circumcisions and the necessity for great umbilical cord care.  Now, let’s think about some more obvious but neglected issues.

Sleep Positioning

Newborns should sleep on their backs or sides. I know. I know. When we were born, our mothers put us on our bellies to keep us from choking. But, that was then and this is now and while babies are placed on their backs today, we don’t see the number of choking problems that you might expect. The risk of belly sleeping is more than just a choking issue, its a breathing one.   We still now very little about what causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but tummy sleeping has been linked to a higher rate of occurrence and that rules out this position for safety reasons.

Babies should also be placed in cribs or bassinets with firm, flat mattresses, free from soft blankets, and fuzzy animals.  Sometimes, I am even anti-bumper pad for the same issue. Babies may smother in soft surfaces, so keep your baby on their back or side.     If you would like to position your baby on his or her side, you may use a sleep positioner (one of those padded “devices” you can pick up at any baby care store) or just roll two blankets and tuck one behind and one in front of baby for sleeping.


During the first weeks of life, your baby only needs a head-to-toe bath about every other day. Sponge off any dirty areas like the face, hands and bottom every day, and don’t forget to clean the cord with alcohol. NO, NO, NO tub bath or water soaked cords until it falls off and heals completely.

Remember to bathe your baby in an area free from cold drafts and only expose the part you want to wash. Don’t leave your baby unattended near water, and don’t do baths on high surfaces where baby may roll off or be dropped. Make sure you have everything within reach that you will need.  Use the floor until you get a good handle on what you’re doing.

If you aren’t sure about the water temperature, test it on the inside of your wrist, or pick up a temperature tester in the baby department. Turn down the temperature on your water heater to prevent scalding as well.   Anyway, clean the exposed body part, and then dry and cover up again.  Start with the eyes and face. (I mean, logically, who washes their backside before their face? Let’s not go there…) Then work your way down the body saving the diaper area for last. Wash hair after the rest of the body is finished by wrapping your baby in a blanket and gently washing the hair under warm running water. See? Its easier to manage a crying, wet, slippery baby than you thought.

There’s a lot more to cover, but we’ll work up to that. For now, you have the most obvious and important tasks mastered, I know it!

Baby Basics: The fundamentals of newborn care

Its funny–I see so many women who despite having other children, have forgotten the ins and outs of basic infant care. In some cases, its been years between babies.  In other cases, I think “momnesia” has set in. (Do you know what that is? Its the endless supply of forgetfulness most new moms have for at least a year after their first child is born. Never seemed to go away for me though…)  Anyway, regardless of the cause, a lot of moms are unsure when it comes to how to properly clean an umbilical cord, care for a circumcision,  or even give a bath.   Continue reading “Baby Basics: The fundamentals of newborn care”