Skin to Skin Contact and Bonding After Birth

Skin to Skin Contact and Bonding After Birth

When a mama gazes into her baby’s eyes immediately after birth, and baby is placed on mama’s abdomen with direct skin contact, a multitude of amazing things happen for both. The first hour after birth is referred to as the “Golden Hour” for a reason.

What happens physiologically to mama and baby during this time is fascinating. Healing begins faster, bonding occurs, breastfeeding has a better success rate, and probiotics get exchanged in a cozy environment. These benefits have made skin-to-skin internationally recommended.

Increased Rate of Success for Breastfeeding

When a baby is skin-to-skin in the first hour of life, baby and mama have primordial instincts to breastfeed. The first milk produced, called colostrum, is what newborns smell in preference just after amniotic fluid. Baby is actually able to crawl up to the breast, motivated by sense of smell. His or her little legs push down on mama’s belly to hunt that nipple! This also helps massage the uterus, minimizing postpartum bleeding for mama too. Amazing isn’t it?

Colostrum is the perfect first meal for baby. It is nutrient rich, high in protein, and full of antibodies to help protect baby from infection. It is lower in sugar and fat than breastmilk, so it is easily digested. A few milliliters help to stabilize baby’s blood sugar over the course of the first 24 hours. Colostrum also helps establish lifelong gut flora. Who needs probiotics anyway?

Probiotics and Baby’s Body Temperature

That is not the only remarkable clinical exchange: good bacteria colonizes from mama’s skin to baby’s! The mother and baby share the same unique antibodies, so a mama’s skin is already a familiar place for baby. Mama’s abdomen is the most beneficial space for a baby within the first hour. Delaying baby’s first bath enhances this probiotic balance, and keeps baby’s body temperature appropriately cozy. Through thermal synchrony, mama’s body is able to fluctuate temperature and meet baby’s needs. If a baby is too cool, the mama’s chest temperature heats up to warm him or her. An intuitive mama’s body is almost always better technology than a hospital baby warmer.

Furthermore, the heart beating of the mum is the most familiar sound for the newborn. It is proved that babies who spend in average two hours non stop skin to skin have more stable heart beating and breathing rhythm.

Finally, we should underline that babies kept against mum’s chest cry much less (in terms of intensity and duration) showing lower cortisol (stress hormone) rates than babies who have been separated.

Winberg J, Mother and Newborn Baby: Mutual Regulation of Physiology and Behavior. A Selective Review.: Dept of pediatrics, Q208, Karolinska Hospital, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden Dev Psicobiol 2005; 47: 217-229

Stages of Labor

Stages of Labor

If you’re feeling a bit anxious about giving birth, there are things you can do that may help. For example, knowing what is going to happen during your birth.

Let me explain you a little bit more about Stages of labor


You can have some contractions known as Braxton-Hicks, they can be painful but they are not regular and you are not in labor!

In the late pregnancy stage you cervix will become thinner to get ready for your labor.

Usually the hospital will not accept you until you are dilated 3 cm or more.

First Stage of Labor

The cervix thins and dilates until it reaches 10 cm.

3-5 cm. Early labor

5-8 cm. Active Labor

8-10 cm. Transition

Second stage of Labor

This stage is known as the pushing phase. You are already 10 cm dilated and your baby is going to born. Firstly, the baby needs to descend through the pelvis.

You will feel the urge to push during contractions until your baby is born.

Third stage of Labor

After the baby is born, you continue to have contractions to deliver the placenta.

Fourth Stage

The two hours after birth is when breastfeeding can be established. Contractions continues so the uterus will shrink

breastfeeding tandem

How To Tell Your Child That You Are Pregnant

Finding out that you are pregnant comes with excitements and anxiety. The urge to break this big news to your immediate family will definitely overshadow you, leaving you with no other option than to break it up. But have you thought about how your child will take this news?

Having experienced this stage of motherhood, thereby crossing the bridge at some point in time, I know exactly how difficult it is to share this news with your child. After several years of experiences with both expectant mothers and children, we have come to realize the fact that the age of a child is a major determinant factor when it comes to addressing the issue on how to tell your child that you are pregnant.

Right here in this article, we will be sharing relevant tips on how to tell your child that you are pregnant. These tips will be shared according to the age group of your child. The major age groups compromises of toddlers, preschoolers, and school-agers.

Unlike other members of a family, a child is quite different when it comes to handling the news of his or her mother being pregnant and that she will be having a new baby in a few months. Moreover, there is a high probability that such a child understands less about it means to be pregnant and having a baby soon.

Breaking the news in an improper way is likely to cause two main things. Firstly, the child might be overwhelmed with anxiety and quick expectations. For such a child, waiting for 9 months might seem like forever. Based on that fact, it is best to keep it to yourself until you are a few months away from delivery. Secondly, Telling your child that you are pregnant and that you will be having a new baby might make he or she feel like a new child is coming to replace him or her. There is one last thing that you need to take note of and that is doing all you can to prevent anyone else from sharing this news to your child.

How to Tell Your Toddler or Preschooler You’re Pregnant

Time is definitely one thing that preschoolers don’t really understand. Try testing your preschooler by allowing him to wait five minutes for a meal and you will see the uncontrollable anxiety that he will showcase. With this, you should realize the fact that your child can’t wait for 9 months before he or she starts coming at you.

According to a series of evaluations, the second trimester is the best time to tell your child that you are pregnant. At this time, your protruded tummy will be the one to help tell your child that you are pregnant. You can also take your child along when going for a scan to prove to him or her that he will be becoming a big brother or sister very soon.

How to Tell Older Children You’re Pregnant

For an older child, there are some basic things that he or she is likely to understand. Although time also has a major role to play here as well. Before doing any other thing, check out the temperament of your child and well he or she will be able to handle the news of you being pregnant. This will help you decide when to tell him or her that you are pregnant.

The best way to tell your older child that you are pregnant is to get him or her into your planning or process. This will give your child the opportunity to familiarize himself or herself with what is to come and how to take. When you finally decide to drop the news, kindly keep your language simple, straightforward and positive.

food to avoid during pregnancy

Best Nutrition For Pregnant Women

Pregnancy is a special stage of a woman’s life that requires a special type of attention. During this period, the body of a woman needs certain types of nutrients which should be in the right proportions. Any imbalances could cause devastating effects on both the mother and the unborn child.

Ideally, a pregnant woman in either her second or third trimester needs about 300 to 500 additional calories to support her current state on a daily basis. These additional calories should come from vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are essential to the development of both the mother and the unborn child.

Unlike other health conditions, everything counts in pregnancy. During pregnancy, excessive weight gain and poor eating habit could cause complications during childbirth. Therefore, as a pregnant woman, you must watch your nutrition carefully making sure everything works in line with what you and your unborn child needs.

Pregnancy is a blessing, therefore you shouldn’t panic because you don’t know what to eat or avoid. All you have to do is keep calm as we share the best nutrition that you need as a pregnant woman.

Highly Nutritious Foods To Eat When You’re Pregnant

1. Dairy Products

Protein and Calcium are highly needed for you the mother and the unborn child who is actually growing at a fast rate. Dairy products being a good source of the essential nutrients (whey and casein) are the best choice for you as a pregnant woman. Dairy products also contain additional nutrients such as, several vitamin B’s, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium, making it a good source of nutrients for you and your unborn child.

2. Legumes

Legumes being a rich source of nutrients like folate (B9), protein, fiber, calcium, and iron makes it good nutrition for pregnant women. Consuming food crops like soybeans, pea, lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, and beans provides all these nutrients within a hand stretch.

3. Sweet potatoes

When it comes essential nutrients that shouldn’t be found wanting in a pregnant woman’s diet, Vitamin A is at the top of the list. Its deficiency could cause cell deformity and retard growth. Sweet potatoes which happen to be a good source of vitamin A and fiber should be a part of your diet during this period.

4. Salmon

omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that play a key role in the development of an unborn child. These saturated fats help build the eyes and brain of an unborn child during pregnancy. Salmon is a good source of this essential nutrient, which means it should part of your diet.

5. Eggs

Speaking of a multi-purpose food that has a wide range of nutrients, eggs can hardly be sidelined. Having several nutrients that are beneficial to both the pregnant woman and the unborn child, eggs should be part of your daily diet. Moreover, a single egg contains about 77 calories which is a good source of energy.

6. Leafy Greens and Broccoli

Leafy greens and Broccoli are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, iron, and fiber which are essential nutrients needed that a pregnant woman needs. Including these in your nutrition plan help provide all these nutrients. More so, leafy greens and broccoli help prevent constipation which is quite common with pregnant women.

7. Lean Meat

As a pregnant woman, eating marbled meat is a bad idea. Lean meat such as beef and pork are rich in iron which is highly needed for hemoglobin formation in the red blood cells. Asides this, lean meat is a good source of quality energy. Therefore it should be included in your nutrition plan as well.

8. Water

Being the most available of all nutrients, water is often paid less attention to. During Pregnancy, the blood of increases with approximately 1.5 liters making it a quarter more than what an average age woman should have. Not giving your body the right amount of water (2 liters) on a daily basis is a terrible thing that you should correct if you wish to have a healthy and well-nourished pregnancy.


Early signs you could be pregnant

Early signs you could be pregnant

Also in the very early weeks of a pregnancy, your baby isn’t the only one growing and changing – you are too. Every woman experiences unique symptoms, with some having very few and others the full house!

Once you have confirmed you are pregnant by taking a pregnancy test – the only way to be certain – then early symptoms may occur more quickly than you expect. There are several very common symptoms I see in pregnant woman in their early weeks of pregnancy:

1. Breast changes

Even during the first month of pregnancy, many women notice that their breasts start to grow, and feel tender, with the area around the nipples (the areolae) starting to darken. This is due to a woman’s hormone levels rapidly changing after conception, causing the glands inside the breast to grow and prepare for milk production and breastfeeding after baby is born.

It can take several weeks for your body to adapt to these new hormone levels but any breast discomfort should gradually settle as the pregnancy continues. Expect to go through several bra sizes when pregnant and don’t skimp on these as good support will help reduce stretching and sagging later on.

2. Fatigue

Feeling very tired is normal in pregnancy, starting as early as the first week of pregnancy, and this tiredness can feel overwhelming. It’s linked to hormonal changes, especially a rise in the hormone progesterone, although other factors such as low blood pressure and falling levels of sugar in the blood can also be a factor.

This exhaustion typically starts to ease away around the 12th to 14th week of pregnancy. Get plenty of rest – including catnaps in the day if you are able to – and eating foods that are rich in protein and iron.

3. Nausea

‘Morning sickness’ is perhaps the most famous symptom of pregnancy but not every pregnant woman gets it. Despite its name it can happen at any time of day or night, usually starting three to four weeks after you have missed your period. If you don’t develop morning sickness, don’t worry – you’re just lucky! The exact cause for it is still unclear but is likely to be linked to the very rapid rise in the hormone hCG.

You may also start to crave (or even go off) certain foods at this early stage. Fortunately, for most women the symptoms lessen at about the 13th or 14th week of their pregnancy. Aim to eat small meals often, avoid eating at bedtime, try eating ginger to reduce any nausea, wear clothes that don’t constrict your waist, and try to steer clear of strong smell.

Tips to slow down before giving birth

Tips to slow down before giving birth

Birth can be straightforward, can be exciting, intense, life changing, a really strong situation, probably not perfect…

As I explain in my antenatal courses in Barcelona or online, birth is physical but also a physiological and an emotional process.

Your birth will start when your oxytocin levels are high enough that your contractions can start… And basically oxytocin is the love and happiness hormone.

You need to feel relaxed, happy, stress free, let yourself slow down a little, a bit like the feelings you have when you’re on holiday, really.

I know, in our society, this is no easy task, we are so busy with our jobs, social life… How can you be relaxed before giving birth?

So how can you prepare for birth?

1. Take a longer break before baby, you’re never going to regret alone time pre kids, around in the 36 weeks if you can.

2. Go to a pregnancy yoga class, and not only for the body, for the mind. Learn to switch off that mind and relax. Show your body you love it, let it move slowly and gently and love yourself with some quiet time.

3. Have a relaxation ritual at home. Whether it’s yoga, meditation or just eating cake and a nice tea, take time for yourself doing nothing.

4. Deal with your fears. Whatever is in your head and swirling around in there, don’t sit with it. Talk to someone, write it down, clear those fears!

5. Do some research and write down a short birth preferences list. What’s important to you? Why is it important? How will this be achieved? Start the conversation with yourself and your partner.

6. You have to be able to say NO. You are your priority right now. You are growing your beautiful baby…that’s enough. Don’t run around doing a zillion things, now is not that time.

7. Sing to baby. Choose a lullaby now, when they’re in your arms they’ll be able to recognise it and be soothed by it

8. Prepare for after the birth. What will it be like? Talk to other mothers…what is essential? Food should be up there…an extra pair of hands, gather your tribe. And while you’re there ask them the same about their birth stories, get their tips!

9. Listen to yourself. Your body and your baby will send you signs…extra tired, achy back, feeling low…listen and look after yourself. This is a special time, don’t miss it being busy.

10. And above all, be open minded. We never know how your birth will be, often it may be something very different to what you expected. It is important to flow, to trust in the sanitary personnel you have chosen to be with you and to accept what comes…

when do i feed my baby

Ways to Establish a Positive Bond with Your Baby

Bonding is essential for a baby. Studies of newborn monkeys who were given mannequin mothers at birth showed that, even when the mannequins were made of soft material and provided formula to the baby monkeys, the babies were better socialized when they had live mothers to interact with. The baby monkeys with mannequin mothers also were more likely to suffer from despair. Scientists suspect that lack of bonding in human babies can cause similar problems. Ways to Establish a Positive Bond with Your Baby

Most infants are ready to bond immediately. Parents, on the other hand, may have a mixture of feelings about it. Some parents feel an intense attachment within the first minutes or days after their baby’s birth. For others, it may take a bit longer.

But bonding is a process, not something that takes place within minutes and not something that has to be limited to happening within a certain time period after birth. For many parents, bonding is a byproduct of everyday caregiving. You may not even know it’s happening until you observe your baby’s first smile and suddenly realize that you’re filled with love and joy.

The best way for a new mother to establish a positive bond with her newborn at home is breastfeeding so you have the physical connection. Besides the physical connection, the mother releases a lot of endorphins, happy hormones, during breastfeeding so moms are generally happier when they breastfeed. But if you have decided not to bresastfeed for any reason, you can look to your baby in the eyes having her really close meanwhile you feed her.

Making an Attachment

Bonding with your baby is probably one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care. You can begin by cradling your baby and gently rocking or stroking him or her. If you and your partner both hold and touch your infant frequently, your little one will soon come to know the difference between your touches. Both of you can also take the opportunity to be “skin to skin” with your newborn by holding him or her against your own skin.

Babies may respond to infant massage, you’ll need to massage your baby very gently. Before trying out infant massage, be sure to educate yourself on proper techniques by checking out the many books, videos, and websites on the subject. You can also find out if there are classes in infant massage in your area.

Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding are both natural times for bonding. Infants respond to the smell and touch of their mothers, as well as the responsiveness of parents to their needs. In an uncomplicated birth, caregivers try to take advantage of the infant’s alert period immediately after birth and encourage feeding and holding of the baby. However, this isn’t always possible and, though ideal, immediate contact isn’t necessary for the future bonding of the child and parent.

Primeras sensaciones del embarazo

Primeras sensaciones del embarazo

Es posible que tengas la sensación de estar embarazada incluso antes de que el test dé positivo. Como bien sabes el primer síntoma del embarazo es la falta de uno de tus períodos menstruales, seguramente unas dos semanas después de la concepción. Ciertamente existen muy pocos estudios o investigación científica sobre los primeros síntomas del embarazo ya que suelen ser muy diferentes en función de cada persona, por ejemplo hay muchas mujeres que sienten pinchazos una semana después de la concepción, otras dos semanas más tardes y muchas otras no sienten nada.

Síntomas físicos

  • Dolores tipo cólicos leves y puede que algún sangrado, leve y marronoso, conocido como sangrado de implantación, que sucede cuando el óvulo fertilizado se implanta en el útero.
  • Sentirse muy cansada también es otro síntoma, tu cuerpo está trabajando muy duro para adaptarse a la nueva situación y crear una nueva vida. Para poder mitigar esta fatiga te recomiendo que duermas algunas siestas en el día y que te tomes más tiempo de sueño por las noches. En el segundo trimestre la energía volverá.
  • Las náuseas matutinas y los vómitos suelen ser un síntoma bastante claro. Están causadas por las hormonas del embarazo. Estas náuseas, aunque apodadas matutinas, pueden suceder en cualquier momento del día y suelen desaparecer en el final del primer trimestre. Aunque hay muchas mujeres que las tienen más tiempo e incluso durante todo el embarazo. Existen algunos olores o alimentos que pueden desencadenarlas, es muy personal.
  • La mayoría de mujeres notan que sus pechos crecen y se endurecen, tu cuerpo se está preparando ya para la lactancia materna. Puede que los notes doloridos, sensibles o inflamados e incluso pueden aparecer pequeñas protuberancias en el entorno de los pezones. ¡Pero amigas, no os preocupéis porque con el paso de los días todavía crecerán y cambiarán más!

¿Estás sintiendo alguno de esos síntomas? ¿Los sentisteis en el pasado?

Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise During Pregnancy

In general, exercise during pregnancy does wonders. It boosts mood, improves sleep, and reduces aches and pains. It also prepares you for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance, and makes it much easier to get back into shape after your baby is born.

Which exercises are best in pregnancy?

The ideal exercise in pregnancy will get your heart pumping and keep you supple, without causing physical stress. Many activities, such as running and weight training, are fine in the beginning, but you may need to modify your workout as you grow bigger. You’ll really feel the benefit if you do a combination of: aerobic exercise, which works your heart and lungs and muscle-strengthening exercise, which improves your strength, flexibility and posture.

To get the full benefits, you’ll need to exercise at least three times a week, ideally more. Try to find something that you enjoy, as you’ll be more likely to stick to it in the longer term. Build activity into your daily life, too. For example, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and doing housework or gardening, counts as exercise. Avoid doing sports where there’s a risk of hitting your bump, or of slipping and falling, such as squash, gymnastics, rollerblading, horse riding and skiing. The following types of exercise are safe in pregnancy, though some may not be suitable for the last few months, and you may need to lessen the activity as your pregnancy progresses. Talk to your doctor, midwife or a physiotherapist before starting any exercise that’s new to you.

You will probably want to avoid these types of exercises during pregnancy:

  • Activities where falling is more likely
  • Exercise that may cause any abdominal trauma, including activities with jarring motions, contact sports or rapid changes in direction
  • Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing
  • Bouncing while stretching
  • Waist twisting movements while standing
  • Intense bursts of exercise followed by long periods of no activity
  • Exercise in hot, humid weather
  • Do not hold your breath for an extended period of time
  • Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion
Birthing Pool Barcelona

Birthing Pool Barcelona

An increasing number of women are choosing to spend at least some of their labour immersed in water. Birthing pools are increasingly being more used in hospitals in Barcelona but just for dilation, and some women even choose to hire birthing pools for use at home, because is the only way you can give birth inside.

What different positions can I be in, in a birthing pool?

You could think about trying different positions before giving birth in water, such as:

  • Kneeling, leaning on the side of the pool.
  • Squatting, holding onto the sides of the pool.
  • Using floats under your arms for support.
  • Floating on your back with your hands holding the sides, while your head is supported on a waterproof pillow.
  • Floating on your tummy with your head turned sideways, resting on a pillow.

When might I need to get out of the pool?

Sometimes you may be asked to leave the pool during labour.

  • Changes in the baby’s heart rate
  • Meconium (baby’s poo) staining your waters;
  • Bleeding from your vagina during labour
  • If you develop a high temperature, pulse or blood pressure
  • You may also be asked to leave the pool for abdominal palpation and for vaginal examinations (to assess progress in labour).

If your labour slows down after about two hours, it may be wise to leave the pool – you can get in again later. You may choose to stay in to give birth, or find, as many women do, that dry land suits you better when the moment arrives. You will probably get out of the pool for the delivery of the placenta. When you get out, you need to be wrapped in a warm towel or a soft warm robe. If you are wearing a T-shirt in the water, it’s best to take it off while you are out so as not to cool down too much.

The advantages:

  • Warm water can provide relief from the discomfort of labour, and may even be used instead of medical pain relief.
  • It doesn’t prevent the use of other medicines, you would still be able to use certain forms of pain relief in the pool. Speak to your healthcare provider to find out more.
  • Water can have a calming effect, allowing you to relax during labour which can help labour to progress.
  • Water can support your weight, meaning that you may find yourself free from some aches and pains of late pregnancy.
  • Water can support your weight, leaving you better able to change position and stay upright.
  • The pool around you can help you to feel more private and protected.
  • Giving birth in water is thought to reduce the risk of vaginal tearing.

The disadvantages:

  • There are some forms of pain relief that are not compatible with the pool, so you may need to abandon the birthing pool if you want to use one of those pain relief options.
  • If you get into the pool before labour is underway, there are concerns that you could slow down the onset of labour.
  • Birthing pools are not available in all birthing units, you will need to check with your healthcare provider whether you will be able to have one on the day .
  • If you are planning a homebirth, you will need to hire a pool yourself which you will need to budget for.
  • Not all women experience the pain relieving benefits of water, some simply feel disappointed when they get into the pool.