Postpartum Sex- What to Expect and When to Get Help

 
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Guest Blog Post by Eimear Lynch


As a women’s health physiotherapist, I could sit here and write an entire blog about incontinence, prolapse, back pain etc but the more and more I see women, I notice that a topic that has even more taboo post-partum is sex. I am no sex therapist but the pelvic floor is pretty important in sex and that’s something I deal with daily!

Firstly there is no right time to return to sex after baby. Some women will be eager to get back at 6 weeks post natal, but for others it may be over a year or more.

Every couple is different. Mums can struggle both mentally and physically with returning to sex after kids, and so open communication with your partner is vital. There is a lot of pressure for mums to “bounce back” post baby, and more recently to be “sexy” after kids. The post natal period can be a vulnerable time, there is a lot going on and sex, or being sexy, is often not high on the priority list. Our headspace as a mum is different to that as a lover, and it may be difficult to switch between the two.

THE ADVICE I GIVE TO MUMS POST NATAL

  1. 1 week of no bleeding (usually around 4-7 weeks post natal). This is a sign that you are healed and are a reduced risk of infection

  2. Use a lubricant- Due to hormones you may experience some vaginal dryness, especially if breastfeeding. If the tissues are dry, and especially if you have any perineal tear or episiotomy, you want to limit any uncomfortable dragging of these healing tissues. YES is a great organic lubricant which I use in clinic, though there are lots of different brands out there. Just remember oil based lubricants are not suitable for use with condoms, so if using condoms as contraception a water based lubricant is best.

  3. Woman on top- Playing around with different positions can be helpful. I always recommend for the first time after baby, the woman should be on top . This is best as she can control the speed and depth. This can reduce alot of anxiety for women.

 
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ADVICE I OFFER FOR PARTNERS

3 reasons women may struggle with sex initially post baby:


  1. Fear. Particularly following a vaginal birth, but also after section. Your partner may be frightened of damaging my stitches or causing pain.

  2. Change in my body image. A woman’s body has changed so dramatically in the past 9 months and she may struggle to feel sexy

  3. Vaginal dryness. It is normal for women to feel dry down there. This is not a sign that your partner doesn’t love you, it is a normal response to changing hormones right now.

  4. Sometimes new mums feel emotionally fatigued. They have likely spent all day being touched by, and caring for baby- your partner may feel like they can give no more.

  5. Be patient. Some mums feel like they have lost their identity and may need some time to settle into who she is as a mum and as a partner again.


Sometimes women can experience ongoing pain with sex following baby. If this occurs you may have pain secondary to perineal scarring following episiotomy/tearing, or some tightness in the pelvic floor for example. You should contact a women’s health physiotherapist for a thorough assessment. This can be your primary problem, there is nothing to be ashamed of, it is ok to want to be pain free with sex!


The Physio Girl

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My name is Eimear Lynch, I am the practice owner at The Physio Girl, a clinic dedicated to women’s health and post natal rehabilitation. I treat everything from incontinence to prolapse, back pain, diastasis and everything in between. I came to this job through my own personal struggles with pelvic health problems and understand the emotional and physical impact these issues can have. Since having my own kids my love for this job has grown even more. My passion is supporting women to achieve their goals.

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Join us the 13th October for Expo Day! (11 am- 3 pm) With over 45 exhibitors, talks + demos and loads to keep your little ones busy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Hypnobirthing – Hints & Tips from a Hypnobirthing Coach!

 
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Hypnobirthingairy-fairy and hippie dippy??  If you think that, then please read on!  


Hypnobirthing is so much more mainstream and even celebrities embrace it….  Who wouldn’t want to stay relaxed through pregnancy and prepare for their baby’s birth?  It’s all about getting into the relaxed zone…

When I meet couples for the first time, I can often feel their anxiety.  It can be visible and palpable – affecting parents in many different ways.  Sometimes it’s even overwhelming. But that’s OK. Hypnobirthing helps with all of that.  It brings confidence and self-belief – and over the weeks and months the positive changes are amazing.  I love it… and so do the couples I work with!

WHO’S IT FOR?

Everyone and anyone, parents welcoming their first baby or those growing their family…  I also suggest you begin any time after 12 weeks…

Mums have nine months to get mind and body better prepared for birth.  Physical and mental preparations are the foundations of a fabulous birth experience. Every mum wants a relaxed, safe and comfortable birth whether a natural birth or a birth using medical interventions.

All parents have powerful natural resources within them and when put to use, these enable a more relaxed and controlled birth of baby.  There can even be a beautiful balance between nature and medicine and a calm baby can enjoy their very own experience too.

With Hypnobirthing, Mums and birth partners gain confidence and become empowered.  They feel reassured having done their best to prepare for a stress free pregnancy and birth. 


It’s also a joy to work with couples who are hypnobirthing for baby 2, 3 or more and I often hear “I wish I had found hypnobirthing earlier.  I know how I’d like my baby’s birth to be. I want to feel in control and have a calm birth and I’m happy to discuss this with my midwife too.” 

 
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WHY CHOOSE HYPNOBIRTHING

Working with a Birth Coach might seem unusual.  If you consider that mums are often conditioned to be fearful, this might just be the best decision to make – for your family and your baby.  You learn to bond with baby and with your partner. You learn to trust your body, your baby and your instincts.

It's about choice.  Choose Hypnobirthing and make an informed choice.  The beautiful techniques are evidence based and follow years of research.  It’s so much more than just a few breathing techniques. It’s a complete program that educates and informs.  It’s nothing new but it is helping mums, all around the world, to return to nature’s way. Often mum, baby and nature know best. 

Hypnobirthing works alongside the medical professionals and is now embraced by many maternity hospitals throughout Ireland and worldwide. The techniques are just as effective with home births, water births, hospital births and birth centres.

AS AN HB COACH

In 2019 I celebrate 10 years of Hypnobirthing and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients.  In that time I’m delighted to have received an award celebrating Hypnobirthing – A Mother Earth Award.  How fab! I’m a Motivational Coach and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and my passion is people! More importantly, I’m passionate about you and your baby!  Hypnobirthing has been with us for over 30 years. It may even be older than you!  

With love, Pamela  xx  

Founder of MoCoH – Motivational Coaching and Hypnotherapy, www.mocoh.eu.

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Join us the 13th October for Expo Day! (11 am- 3 pm) With over 45 exhibitors, talks + demos and loads to keep your little ones busy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

What's in My Nail Polish and is it Good for Me?

 
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Sharon Keilthy, founder of KidsNails.ie, shares some quick-and-easy ways to tell!

There were some scary ingredients in nail polish in the olden days! Thankfully, most nail polishes are now 3-free: no formaldehyde (carcinogenic), no dibutyl phthalate / DBP (reproductive abnormalities), and no toluene (headaches and dizziness).


But it's surprising how many known 'bad-for-you' chemicals are still in big nail polish brands.

HERE ARE 3 EASY-PEASY WAYS TO AVOID THEM:

  1. Buy a brand that says it's at least 11-free;

  2. The American Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an independent non-profit. It uses research and education to help consumer make better choices for healthier lives in a healthier environment. They have an easy, scientific, free online database called SkinDeep: www.ewg.org/SkinDeep. If your nail polish - or your foundation, shampoo, or any cosmetic - is sold in America, it'll be included here. Type it in and check its risk-rating - aim for products rated 1-2 (green = lowest-risk). Or click on their nail polish list to see which brands they rank safest; or

  3. Scan the ingredient list for hormone-disruptors: Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) and any ingredient ending in "paraben".

 
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We set-up KidsNails.ie to help people get the safest nail polishes for their kids. Since then, we've noticed that adults in Ireland are usually much more careful about their kids' health than their own. But you and your health are important too! You don't have to settle for what's already on your vanity, or for the brands you've always used. Put 10 minutes into getting yourself some adult-safe nail polish too (be it ours or another!).

 
 

KidsNails.ie will be at the Pregnancy & Family Expo, popping-up at the Jiminy.ie Eco-Toys stand! They stock the adult / child versions of two super-safe nail polishes: SOPHi / Piggy Paint (long-lasting and top of the EWG's nail polish safety list) and MoYou / Miss Nella (peel-off and 11-free).

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Join us the 13th October for Expo Day! (11 am- 3 pm) With over 45 exhibitors, talks + demos and loads to keep your little ones busy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

The Scoop on Cloth Nappy Poop!

 
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VENTURING INTO THE WORLD OF CLOTH NAPPIES WITH GUEST BLOGGER MICHELLE OF LIMERICK DOULA SERVICES

It was seven years ago when I ventured into the world of cloth nappies. There was a huge level of overwhelm and a big learning curve in the beginning. What are the different types? What brands are the best? How do you wash them properly? and most importantly, what do you do with that cloth nappy poo!

If you're already a parent, then you know whether you use cloth nappies or disposables, you ARE in fact going to get poo on you... regularly. Nappy changes with a newborn are much easier than trying to wrestle a disgruntled or curious toddler who isn't cooperating during a nappy change. Using cloth isn't going to lessen the amount of poo you come in contact with, however, it is going to mean a bit more cleaning. Don't worry, it literally takes an extra couple minutes!

 
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HOW DO YOU DISPOSE THE POO ?

I found that using cloth meant fewer poonamies, or poos that leak out the sides or up the back of a nappy. With the poo contained in the nappy, all that is really required is knocking the poo into the toilet. Some parents choose to rinse the poo off, which is my preference. In the United States it is possible to connect a sprayer to your toilet and rinse directly into it. Sadly, this is not an option in Ireland as the water pressure simply is not great enough. If your toilet and bathtub are close enough, you can attach a hose to rinse the poo off the nappies and into the toilet. This was our compromise and I love it! The nappies are 99% poo-free before they even enter the wash! Another option is buying what are called cloth nappy liners. This is a thin film, often biodegradable, that you place on the nappy during a change. If baby poos, the poo is stuck to the liner which you peel off and then bin or put into the toilet.

WHAT ABOUT POO IN THE WASHING MACHINE?

Putting cloth nappies into your washer is as simple as putting in any soiled clothes! You toss them in and they come out completely clean! Detergents do a great job of breaking down the poo, killing bacteria and an extra rinse can put your mind at ease if the thoughts of poo in your washer is unappealing. Some people also do a 90 degree empty cycle wash once a month to help their washer stay fresh and to be extra, extra sure all bacteria is killed. If you knock off the poo, rinse or use liners as outlined above, you really don't need to worry! If any nappies have a stain, you can hang them outside or near a sunny window to get rid of it easily.


The important thing to remember is that yes, there is a learning curve with cloth nappies but once you find what works for you, it’s incredibly easy!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CLOTH NAPPIES AND SEE BRANDS UP CLOSE, JOIN US ON EXPO DAY THE 13TH OCTOBER!

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Michelle is a birth and postpartum doula and the owner of Limerick Doula Services. She offers a range of support services for families both during and following pregnancy. She is passionate about helping families prepare for a positive birth and approach early parenting with strength and confidence.

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Join us the 13th October for Expo Day! (11 am- 3 pm) With over 45 exhibitors, talks + demos and loads to keep your little ones busy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

How Do You Know When to Go to Hospital Anyway? | Guest Blog Post

 
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Preparing for Baby and When to go to Hospital | Post by Annika of Southeast Doula Care

It’s the age old question. Now you’re in labour but how do you know when it’s time to go to hospital? It’s one of the most common questions that I am asked and a topic expectant parents can feel quite anxious about. So, how DO you know?


If you have googled this, you likely got a few specific answers that, also quite likely, contradict each other.

  • Once contractions are regular for 1 hour, contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting 60

    seconds

  • Contractions every 5 minutes, lasting 40-50 seconds

  • When contractions are regular, every 4-5 minutes, lasting 1 minute#

CONFUSED YET?

As you can see, it’s not a simple formula that applies to everyone, it depends on many individual factors. Here are just a few:

  • What are your preferences for labour?

    Would you prefer to be monitored and have hospital support from early on in your

    labour or would you rather stay at home, in your own comfort zone for as long as

    possible?

  • What pain relief are you planning to have?

    If you want an early epidural, you will probably opt to go to hospital much sooner

    than you would if you prefer not to have any pain relief at all.

  • Whether this is your first baby or not

    Although every labour is different and can’t be predicted, if this is not your first

    baby, you might have an indication of how your labour tends to progress.

  • The distance to the hospital

 
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And while these points are helpful in assessing your wishes, they are all just indicators. Labour and birth are incredibly individual and babies tend to make their own plans.


If you are unsure and you decide to phone the hospital for guidance, timing your contractions can be a helpful, although lose, guide when speaking to your midwife. Not for an actual number, but to see how your labour is progressing so far.

As is so often the case with pregnancy, labour and birth: The answer lies within you. Listen to your body, only YOU know if and when the pattern changes. Usually, when you feel your labour is getting faster, more intense or things feel different, like you can’t talk through contractions anymore or it’s all getting a bit fuzzy, it’s time to get a move on.

If you can’t quite say what it is but you are suddenly feeling odd, GO.

If your birth partner sees you suddenly acting VERY different, for example if you are chatty one moment and then seek complete solitude, get angry or vague, they need to get you to GO.

If you are in doubt, GO.

Sometimes, even with all these things happening, women arrive at the hospital only for their labour to completely stall. And that’s perfectly ok. Remember that we are mammals, our senses are primal when we give birth. To most, the hospital is an unfamiliar environment with its smells, bright lights and hustle that can be perceived by your stone age self as an unsafe space where it’s too risky to continue giving birth. If you feel you can’t relax, you can ALWAYS go back home if you so wish.


Having said all that, many women have given birth in their homes or in the car on the way to the hospital because baby decided to make a sudden, unexpected grand entrance! That’s normally not a problem. Make sure you get down on the floor to avoid baby falling (they are slippery little things!), cover them with your shirt or a towel and keep them skin-to-skin once born and then make a phone call to break the great news to the emergency services!

 
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Annika Schulz is a birth and postpartum doula and the owner of Southeast Doula Care based in County Wexford. She is passionate about offering non-judgmental support and information to expectant and new families from pregnancy through all types of birth and into family life.

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Join us the 13th October for Expo Day! (11 am- 3 pm) With over 45 exhibitors, talks + demos and loads to keep your little ones busy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Plastic Free Parenting | Guest Blog Post

 
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As parents, we all want to reduce our waste and minimize our impact on the earth. But we are all busy and don’t want to take on extra work!! Is it possible to make it easy? Yes! It’s about thinking about things differently. It’s about looking at what you have at home and using it instead of buying, buying, buying! Shopping has become a thing we do for enjoyment instead of something we do out of need- we’ve been conditioned into . They want us to keep on shopping whether we need something or not. Shopping has become a hobby or pastime. We need to change that. Teens go to the shopping centre to hang out and shop for stuff they don’t need in cheap shops with questionable morals- that needs to be replaced with other pastimes. Living more sustainably saves you money too so it’s a win win! .


Here are a few tips to get you started on minimal waste living under 3 themes:


  • Toys/birthdays

  • Food

  • Nappies


TOYS/BIRTHDAYS

Kids these days have a lot of toys!! I don’t know about you but my kids have toys they have used a couple of times and have never taken out of the press again!! And the majority of the toys are plastic.

“When it comes to toys, in terms of development and creativity, less is more,” Psychology.com

So start with the toys you have, keep the ones your kids love and pass on the ones they never use for someone else to get use out of, friends, the charity shop, local play groups…. When birthday time comes, have a look at buying second hand, you can buy like new, pre owned toys for a fraction of the price. Another option for birthdays is to get them an experience, like a trip to somewhere they love, a membership to the zoo or local attraction. Or buy wooden toys check out www.Jiminy.ie


Kids use their imagination more when they have less stuff. As for birthday parties, you can rent the Rainbow Rentals Party Box for your child’s next party! For €5 you get all the plates, cups, cutlery, bunting you need and no single use plastics in sight!! Check it out to find your local Rainbow Rentals host.

 
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FOOD

We all got used to the reusable shopping bags when they started charging for plastic bags in the shops. Now you can add a few more things to your reusable shopping bags, so you have a shopping kit ready to go. Reusable produce bags are an easy swap to avoid using those little plastic bags to weigh your fruit and veg. Pop a few empty lunch boxes/take away containers/celebrations tubs in the boot with your shopping bags so you can get your meat without packaging at your butcher or the meat counter.


Kids lunches are a really easy one!! I just use a lunch box and put the food straight into it. Some people like to have the sandwich wrapped in something inside the lunch box, you can use food pouches like Keep Leaf pouches or Beeswax wraps. Easy easy!

  • Choose your reusable drinks bottle and that’s school lunches/picnics sorted.

  • Plan your meals (this part I struggle with as I’m so unorganized!!!) this saves time, food waste and money.

  • Buy food that’s I season and local where possible.

  • Eat less meat, maybe just one day less a week.

 
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NAPPIES

If we average 5 nappies a day on your baby’s bum for 365 days a year for 3 years that’s 5,475 nappies going into landfill where they’ll take approx 500 years to break down (we don’t really know, could be longer) 600,000 disposable nappies are used in Ireland every day (and that’s an old figure so I’m sure it’s a lot higher now!)


Another reason to avoid plastic, single use nappies (also know as disposables!) is they are full of chemicals, they are bleached with chlorine, resulting in dioxins as a byproduct. “Dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and are listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic chemicals. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to dioxins may cause skin reactions and altered liver function, as well as impairments to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system and reproductive functions.” Livestrong.com

 
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You save money by switching to cloth nappies and they can be used on baby number 2 and 3…… Parents never believe me that it’s an easy swap until they try. I feel like they’re looking at me and thinking “yeah right” when I say they are not a lot of work! One mum bought a Baba & Boo Cloth nappy off me a few weeks ago to give it a try. She bought 5 more nappies off me this week when she realized that I was telling the truth and they are easy! Yay! Once you give them a try you won’t look back and they are super cute!! You have way less nappy rash and less up the back poosplosions!

 
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Ann is the owner of family run business Eco AnniePooh. She sells gorgeous, convenient reusable products that will reduce your waste in a stylish way! Eco AnniePooh also sell refills for your household cleaners and toiletries so you can reuse the bottles you have at home!

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Join us the 13th October for Expo Day! (11 am- 3 pm) With over 45 exhibitors, talks + demos and loads to keep your little ones busy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Creating Memories & Personalising the Moment | Guest Blog

 
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Guest Blog Post by Ann Marie of Personalise the Moment | Expo Exhibitor

A moment is a "specific point in time" especially the present time" and in one's life time there will be many moments where you will find yourself celebrating occasions or seasons - Engagements, Hen Nights, Weddings, Baby Showers, Christenings, Birthdays, Anniversaries, First Day At School, Communions, Confirmations, Housewarming, Graduations, Halloween, Christmas....the list is endless. There are many ways of capturing memories for such occasions but today you can also Personalise The Moment.


Have you ever walked into a shop and see a shelf filled with personalised items and you never can find your name? Whether you are hosting the event or a guest wanting to bring a unique gift, here are some ideas on how to Personalise The Moment with bespoke items for any occasion.


⦁ Fill party bags or leave on display on tables/candy carts with personalised bars/lollipop favours.

⦁ Say it with a personalised greeting card or chocolate bars.

⦁ New baby arriving and siblings at home - make them feel important with Big Sister/Brother bespoke cards and chocolate favours.

⦁ Light up a smile with a personalised candle, don't forget the christening candle!

⦁ Add a personalised cake or cup cake topper - just picture the smile on the recipients face when they see their favourite icon, hobby, band........etc on the cake. Now, that will be the "icing on the cake!"

⦁ Style up the venue - having a party at home, or at another venue you can add simple little personalised touches to add to the occasion. One favourite of mine, is a vintage brother typewriter displaying bespoke welcome signage. Venue styling is becoming popular for other occasions apart from weddings such as christenings, birthdays.

⦁ Add bespoke candles in a lantern to display at venue for the occasion.

 
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Create memories, keep it simple but effective, and to make it extra special, Personalise The Moment!

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Personalise The Moment is located in Limerick and offers unique bespoke Party Favours, Cards, Candles, Cake Toppers and Venue Styling for any occasion. We work with the customer to create memories, and to add the wow factor to your occasion.

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Join us the 13th October for Expo Day! With over 45 exhibitors, talks + demos and loads to keep your little ones busy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

The ABCs of Pregnancy | Antenatal Care, Boobs! and Constipation

 
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Taking a look at the ABCs of pregnancy! Starting with A- antenatal care, B- boobs! and C- constipation!



ANTENATAL CARE

Ireland's Maternity and Infant Care Scheme provides antenatal care for all those who are ordinarily resident within the country. This service is carried out by a family GP and an obstetrician in hospital. All expectant mums are also entitled to free in and out patient care within the public hospital system for pregnancy related health issues.


Another aspect of antenatal care is antenatal education that will prepare you and your birth support person (usually a partner) for labour and early parenting. There are both hospital based and private antenatal classes available in most areas. Parents who attended private classes had lower caesarean section rates, a reduction in epidural use, a shorter second stage of labour (pushing) and their babies were less likely to need resuscitation following birth. Private education may be in the form of group classes or one to one consultations with a birth doula, childbirth educator or midwife.

BOOBS!

Breasts that feel full, tender or sensitive are one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms. Unfortunately they may continue to feel this way throughout the rest of pregnancy. A supportive bra may really help with discomfort and you may want to switch to one without an underwire. They may feel better as your body shifts and changes- and as your breasts may grow during pregnancy! A good moisturiser can help with any itchiness as the skin stretches both during pregnancy and following birth.

 
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CONSTIPATION

One of the most common pregnancy complaints, constipation can be incredibly miserable! Pregnancy brings with it a change in hormones which can make the digestive tract more sluggish. To combat any constipation, increase your fibre intake, move your body in ways that feel good and drink plenty of water. The iron in pregnancy vitamins can also contribute to constipation. If you feel this may be the case, reach out to your doctor or midwife for guidance.

 

Michelle is a birth and postpartum doula and the owner of Limerick Doula Services. She offers a range of support services which parents can avail of during pregnancy and following birth.

She offers:

  • Birth Doula Support

  • Childbirth Education

  • Placenta Encapsulation

  • Postpartum Belly Binding

  • Postpartum Doula Support

  • Infant Feeding Support