Monthly archives:April 2015

  • pregnant and coughing

    Pertussis, also known as “Whooping Cough” is a highly contagious bacterial disease that is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. It commonly causes bouts of severe coughing that can last for months. Pertussis infection can be especially severe in infants under 12 months of age, causing breathing problems, pneumonia and sometimes death.

    WA Health is currently funding pertussis vaccine for all women in their third trimester of pregnancy.

    Pertussis vaccination works in two ways:

    1. It helps to protect the mother by reducing the risk of the mother catching whooping cough and passing it on to her newborn baby. Parents are a common source of whooping cough infection for children under 12 months old.
    2. It helps protect baby. Babies born to mothers who have had a pertussis vaccine in pregnancy have higher levels of antibodies against the disease than babies whose mothers were not vaccinated.

    Find out more on the WA Health website.


  • We hear so much about what we should and should not do when we’re pregnant. With so many opinions coming at us from different directions, some days it can make you want to take a short walk to the couch and call it a day.

    But getting out and staying active is good for you and your baby. Provided you act with the appropriate care to your body, there are some really great benefits to be gained from exercising during your pregnancy.

    pregnant woman in pool

    Benefits of Exercise

    Exercise during pregnancy can help moderate weight gain, even out the effects of fluctuating hormone levels, improve back pain, help you sleep better, help you maintain a good level of fitness and muscle strength so that your body can recover well after delivery, and can also prevent the onset of Gestational Diabetes (or help treat the condition should Gestational Diabetes occur).

    As a general rule 30 minutes per day on most days of the week of light to moderate exercise is beneficial for pregnant women. Even if you have not been active before your pregnancy, you can still reap the rewards by starting to exercise when you’re pregnant. Take it in small steps and build up to the recommended amount over time so that you don’t overexert yourself.

    A changing body means changing limitations

    In general, if you are a healthy woman who has exercised before her pregnancy, and is experiencing no complications, you will most likely be able to keep up with your exercise routine provided you feel comfortable.

    But there are many physiological changes that you will go through during your pregnancy and this may change how you participate in exercise as you progress through your pregnancy.

    Things such as:

    • change in centre of gravity
    • weight gain and change in body shape
    • loosening of ligaments and joints
    • increase in resting heart rate
    • decrease in blood pressure
    • weakening of the pelvic floor muscles

    can all affect how well your body can perform exercises that you did before you were pregnant.

    These changes can make it harder to keep your balance, for your body to handle ‘jerky’ movements or sudden changes in direction (like netball), and for your body to take strain in certain parts of your body.

    Importantly, whenever undertaking any exercise – listen to your body – it is often very good at telling us when something does not feel right. If you’re feeling exhausted, light-headed, dizzy, or experiencing pain or vaginal bleeding at any stage – stop and consult a healthcare professional.

    Low to moderate exercise is recommended

    Some good exercises to try are:

    • Brisk walking is a great cardio exercise that is easy on the joints, whilst still being a moderate form of exercise (provided you don’t stroll).
    • Swimming is wonderful because it alleviates most of the effects of gravity, making it easier to be active. Just make sure the pool isn’t heated too-high as this can have a negative effect on your unborn child. Not to mention making you uncomfortable or dehydrated.
    • Aquanatal classes make good use of the low gravity conditions that are present in water to help pregnant women be active whilst alleviating pressure on the back and joints.
    • Cycling is fantastic exercise that can be done at a light to moderate level. The changes to your body during pregnancy can affect your centre of gravity and your balance. If you are feeling a bit off or lightheaded, ride a stationary bike indoors to avoid nasty falls.
    • Pregnancy Yoga and Pilates are great strength and conditioning exercises for the body and can be easily adapted for pregnant women. Visit a practitioner that is properly qualified and experienced in teaching pregnant women as they will know how to adapt the exercises for your body. Avoid hot yoga while you are pregnant.
  • Women birthing on the Community Midwifery Program are overwhelmingly positive about their experience of birth, even when things do not going according to plan:

    Here is Madelyn’s story:

    Happy Health Baby Paige

    My birth story was completely not what I had imagined but it taught me that you cannot control everything and that the only thing that is important is that you and your baby are happy and healthy at the end of it.

    Ever since finding out I was pregnant I was dead set on a natural as possible birth, at home with my hubby Paul, birth pool, candles letting my body do the work. I spent my pregnancy going to Hypno birthing classes, learning how to relax into the surges and trust my body to do its thing. I was Zen with a capital Z.

    Then my due date came, and ten more days after it and still no baby. My mum, who had flown over from New Zealand had to extend her stay. I alternated between good days and bad wondering if my some women just never went into labour naturally. I had had five stretch and sweeps, ate currys, pineapple, nipple stimulation, acupuncture; everything I could think of and I didn’t feel any closer to meeting my baby. I referred back to my Hypno birthing which helped to keep me calm and to trust my body.

    Late Monday evening I began to have low pains in my abdomen and wondered if this was finally it.

    I went to bed, quietly excited but after two hours of the same waves at 15 minute intervals I woke Paul and we lay in bed together, enjoying our last moments as just the two of us. The surges came stronger and stronger through the night. Around 1 am I felt a small trickle of fluid run down my leg as I got up to go to the loo, then two hours later I had my bloody show.

    We decided not to wake my mum just yet but spent the night watching TV with candles and set up the birth pool as my surges got stronger and closer together. In the morning my midwife Sue Ann came over to check me as my surges were getting to 5 minutes apart. I was so excited at how well I thought I was coping, surely I must be about 4 cm by now. Nothing. Not even 1 cm dilated. I was gutted. I had an appointment booked anyway at my domino hospital that morning for a scan and trace to check on baby’s health so we decided I would go along to that and see if we could get any answers. The scan didn’t tell us much and I was then strapped up to trace the baby’s heart rate for a couple of hours. Sue Ann noticed that the baby’s heart rate had elevated from that morning but the on call doctor seemed not too bothered by it. After a few hours it was decided I would be sent home.

    As Sue Ann started to leave I was hit by a huge surge and felt a gush of liquid coming out of me, thinking it was my waters I had her called back and we saw that it was a lot of bright red blood, that kept coming every time I had another surge.

    Consultants were called in and before I knew it there were a number of doctors around me. Still in my Hypno birthing calm phase I thought they were students and was continuing to joke with my husband and mum while the doctors and Sue Ann discussed the plan of action. I didn’t realise how serious things were getting until one of the doctors put an IV into my hand and they started to wheel me to the labour ward. Then the word Caesarean was brought up and I was terrified. My waters were broken to see if that would get me dilating which, combined with my fear sent me into painful surges that I was struggling to get through.

    I was still only 2 cm and my baby’s heart rate kept dipping with every surge. Within the space of about 45 minutes I went from getting ready to go home to being prepped for a Caesarean.

    Sue Ann was amazing at talking my through my surges and keeping me calm. She was very vocal and took charge with making sure my wishes were heard. Although I couldn’t have delayed cord clamping, she made sure Paul was the one to announce the sex of the baby; a beautiful little girl.

    Within minutes she was on my chest and didn’t leave my side for the rest of the night. If Sue Ann wasn’t there, making herself heard, I’m not sure if we would have had those things which were very important to us. In the end Paige had the cord tight around her neck and a placental abruption, so we were in the right place at the right time.  Even though I didn’t get my home birth I dreamed of, far from it, as soon as Paige was in my arms I didn’t care. Our bond is amazing, and I credit that to Sue Ann making sure what we could control we did, and the rest just makes for a good story.