Sunday, 26 November 2017

CHRISTMAS MADNESS!

Greetings! 
It will be December in 4 days! If pregnant and due in December you may have already got a head start with all your Christmas shopping in preparation for the birth of your baby. If not, then you may be getting ready to brave the crowds. Here in Singapore where the local schools are already on holiday and the shops started playing Christmas songs in November, Christmas shopping is quite a challenge!

Here is a script for some RELAXATION! Good to prepare for labour and just to calm you down if you feel stressed after shopping!

1.  Get into a comfortable position sitting or lying on the sofa.
2. Shut your eyes and let your body relax by going floppy. Relax each body part from head to toe as quickly as possible while breathing slowly in and then slowly out. Not deeply, but slow and long.
3. Put your tongue to the roof of your mouth and let your jaw drop. 
4. LET GO.good.
5. Now in your minds eye picture a beautiful stretch of beach. You are walking along the sand near the ocean and the water is lapping at your feet with the gentle waves. You can feel the sand sinking underneath your feet as you walk. You feel cool and calm, everything is wonderful.
6. The sand is a pale golden colour and the water azure blue. Look around you, what can you see?
7. Bright palm trees gently blowing in the breeze, boats bobbing on the ocean? you choose.
8. Now I want you to see yourself walking towards a small hut, as you get closer to it you can see that it is not a hut but a beautiful little house nestled on the edge of the water. 
9. Look inside and you can see and hear people chatting and laughing. You are quite close now and they can see you too, they wave and call out your name. Wave back. Now you see that they are your family, they have been waiting for you.
10. You smile and walk towards them ad as you do you notice that you are cradling your baby in your arms, he/she has been born, the birth was exactly as you imagined it would be, gentle and calm and 
you feel exhilarated, empowered and happy.

I love working in the the delivery ward with a couple having a baby over the Christmas holidays, it really is a jolly time. HAPPY CHRISTMAS to one and ALL.

Monday, 11 September 2017

MIND OVER MATTER.

Greetings! What kind of preparation are you doing for your labour and birth?
Lamaze, Bradley, Active Birth, Calm Birth? There are so many to choose from theses days.

 26 years ago when I had my first baby in Ealing London there were 2 to choose from: Lamaze breathing classes or National Childbirth Trust Classes. Slim pickings I hear you say, well luckily for me I was also teaching classes under the name 'Kiki Porter MOTHERCRAFT.' Mine were a technique of relaxation and slow breathing that if done properly stopped you from fighting your contractions while you were rigid with pain and instead let you relax and allow your birthing body to dilate your cervix with only discomfort.

So here I am living and working in Singapore 26 years later and for the past 7 years I have been teaching HypnoBirthing. Written by an American woman in the 90's it is now translated into 20 languages and taught world wide. It is taught by practitioners and not medics, although I am actually both, and designed for birthing centres and home births. In Singapore where they practice Doctor-lead-births generally in hospital, the couples and the Dr's have to come to a compromise but it is generally working very well.

Hypnobirthing Courses are offered all over Singapore in many guises, the original Marie Mongan Method and others that have either adapted or re written to be something new and exciting but all of them teaching the principals we taught all those years ago of deep relaxation, visualisation and breathing to allow the birthing body to take over and birth your baby easily.

It is all Mind over Matter. No matter what you are doing, your mind will control how your body reacts to situations and stimulus in different ways. We have the ability to control our minds and hence how our bodies react, to for example PAIN.

I highly recommend Antenatal preparation not just for labour but for breastfeeding and baby care. The classes give you a chance to meet other couples and to choose which of the many tools you want to learn how to use during labour. Don't forget the more you prepare the more tools you have on your tool belt to use for labour and birth. 
KNOWLEDGE BREEDS CONFIDENCE after all.  Kiki  

 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

TOIL AND TROUBLE! JUNE 2017

Greetings to you all! 
The Summer is here at last. In Singapore the temperature does not vary much throughout the year but we do have a Rainy and a Hot season. Humidity stays at 75-90% all year around. Anyway I digress!
You didn't get my May blog because of technical difficulties, well user error I fear.

SHIP:
Did you know that when you are pregnant and would like to take a cruise on a cruise ship that you must be less than 25 weeks pregnant or you can't sail?
 A family I know booked and paid for a 4 day cruise and were waiting on the dock to board when they looked at the mother and said how many weeks pregnant are you? she showed them a doctors letter stating that she was fit to g on the ship but they refused it saying she was already 25 weeks pregnant and was not able to go on a cruise.
 They were furious and asked to see the Captain who pointed to the very small print on the website that stated passengers could only travel by ship below 24 weeks gestation of pregnancy. He sent them home.

WHY? well from what I can gather they don't have the medical facilities on board a cruise ship or the means to get a patient to hospital with a PREMATURE baby. Babies are viable ie can live outside the mother's body from 24+ weeks gestation onwards. A normal term baby is from 37 weeks gestation.

FLYING:
How pregnant can you be to fly on an aeroplane? of course that depends on the airline, but generally you can fly with a doctor's letter until you are 32 weeks gestation. Once past 35 weeks you are more likely to go into labour and if on board a plane would cause all kinds of problems for the staff!
Should they turn the plane around or not?
Is there a midwife on board the flight to assess the situation?
 Do you want to have your baby in the exotic location you are flying to on holiday?
 IF NOT then don't fly after 32 -35 weeks.

During the last weeks of pregnancy most women 'nest" and don't want to wander to far from home instinctively! TRUST YOUR BODY! It will tell you what it needs.
Until July .
Kiki



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

EASTER & EGGS.

HAPPY EASTER TO YOU ALL.
At Easter I think of the holidays of my childhood, my father always cooked a leg of Lamb on the spit with brown sugar and Anchovy rub on the skin. I remember the delicious smell it gave off as it cooked making my mouth water. I loved those family lunches.

During your pregnancy there are some foods that you MUST avoid eating because they could cause food poisoning, and the presence of bacteria, chemicals or parasites in the food could harm your unborn baby.

SOFT CHEESES & PATE
Don't eat mould-ripened cheeses such as Brie or Camembert, and others with a similar rind including Goat cheese, soft blue veined cheeses, Danish Blue, Gorgonzola and Roquefort.
Any cheeses that are made from mould can contain the listeria bacteria which causes listeriosis.
Even a mild form of this infection during pregnancy may lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness of the newborn.

RAW EGGS.
Don't eat raw or uncooked eggs or foods that contain them, such as homemade mayonnaise may contain Salmonella which causes food poisoning.

UNPASTEURISED MILK.
Don't eat anything that is unpasteurised during your pregnancy because of bacteria infections.

RAW MEAT.& RAW FISH SUCH AS SUSHI.
Don't eat raw or undercooked meat and fish as they may contain parasites, or toxoplasmosis-causing parasites. This includes cured/fermented meats such as salami, chorizo, pepperoni and parma ham.

VITAMIN A.
Too much Vitamin A can harm your baby so avoid foods that are high in Vitamin A such as liver, high does vitamin supplements, fish liver oil and any supplements containing vitamin A.

 CAFFEINE.
Limit to 1 cup of caffeine daily. Too much can cause low birth weight.

There are may different cultural taboo foods during pregnancy! My advice is that they are taboo for a reason. Don't risk the health of your unborn baby.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS.



Friday, 10 February 2017

Am I pregnant or not? A February Question.

We are already 6 weeks into 2017! Amazing how times flies when you are going about your daily life.

I am often asked by people whose period is a few days or weeks late ''Am I pregnant?" It is a difficult one to answer without more information.

1. Have you had sex in the past few weeks? if No, then you are not pregnant. To be pregnant one has to have sex when the woman is fertile, i.e and egg has been released. A woman's body usually tells her this is about to happen by producing a different kind of mucous, sticky, stringy and opaque. This helps pull the sperm from her partner towards the waiting egg for fertilisation.

2. How many days is your cycle? If 28 days then your fertile days are usually 12-16th of your cycle so if you have had sex then, yes you could be pregnant.

3. If your cycle is longer 30-32-35 days each month then your fertile days may be between the12-18-20th of your cycle. However if you have sex a day or two before your period is due and you are usually regular then you are unlikely to be pregnant.

4. BUY A PREGNANCY TEST and use it according to the instructions.. IF it shows you that you are indeed pregnant then go to a Dr for confirmation between 6-8 weeks gestation.(Gestation means weeks of foetal growth and starts from the 1st day of your last menstrual cycle the month before your missed one. If the first day of your last period was 2nd December and you have a 28 day cycle then your next period was due on December 30th.. so you would be 7 weeks pregnant this week.

5. How reliable are the pregnancy tests bought in shops? Manufacturers make them to be reliable but the human error factor has to be taken into consideration. Is the test within it's sell by date? package unopened? If yes, then it should be reliable if you are using it at the right time to test. Some are for the first week of a missed period, others for week 2.. so please check. The day your period should have started is day 1. 

6. CAUTION-IF you use a test that states it is for 2nd week of pregnancy and you test your urine in the first few days of a missed period it will give you a negative reading, not pregnant, BUT you may actually be pregnant if you tested again the following week when your hormone count would be up. SO LOOK CAREFULLY AT THE INSTRUCTIONS before buying/using a pregnancy test. 

7.It is often better to take 2 different tests, each a week apart, to make sure you are or are not pregnant.  IF one test is negative and then other one positive then you should go to a Dr or clinic for blood test confirmation. 

8. If the first test is negative but the second one positive you are most likely pregnant and need confirmation by a Dr as well.

9. In other words if in doubt go to a clinic/Dr for confirmation. 

When we get the result we are hoping for, positive or negative, we often put our heads in the sand. 

I live in the tropics where it was 34 degrees today,, it is always sunny and humid, wonderful. I hope that if like one of my daughters you are snowed in, that you are wrapped up warm and able to go outside and make a snowman/woman.



Friday, 9 December 2016

December Madness!

Madness, in the sense that everyone is shopping! People are spending an average of 20 minutes queuing for their Christmas purchases. The shops are full of tinsel and wrapping paper, Christmas bargains and hoards of people.

If heavily pregnant one often feels claustrophobic in crowds. The feeling of people brushing against your pregnant belly as they pass can make you feel really odd. My advise is DON'T go shopping after 3PM, especially at weekends.  If you do venture out make sure that you can see an exit close by so that you can escape if you need to. 

Escape to a cafe and put your feet up to reduce the swelling. During the later months of pregnancy you are prone to ankle, leg and foot swelling, especially at the end of the day after a busy day walking around in the humidity of Singapore.  So FEET UP! 

Why do you have swelling in pregnancy?
As your baby grows, your womb (uterus) puts pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis. This particularly affects the large vein on your right-hand side which receives blood from your lower limbs (inferior vena cava). This pressure slows blood circulation in the area and causes the blood to pool. 
Pressure from this trapped blood forces water down and out through tiny vessels (capillaries), and into the tissues of your feet and ankles. This water is normally absorbed by your body, but because you're pregnant, you retain more water, which adds to the swelling.

You can help reduce the swelling by not standing for long periods, wearing comfy shoes, no straps that will dig into your feet when they swell, and as said, put your feet up above the level of your heart for 30 -60 minutes a day.

HOWEVER if as well as swelling of your ankles feet legs and hands you have bad headaches, or see flashing lights before your eyes with blurry vision, pain below your ribs or vomiting then SEE YOUR DR. IMMEDIATELY this could be PRE-ECLAMPSIA a rare, serious condition of the mother in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 to you all. 
May all your labour and births be clam and gentle.





Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Autumn winds. September. 2016.

 
Everyone here in Singapore is worried about the Zika virus. Our strain seems to be different from the one causing problems in Brazil and Florida. Most of the island has reported cases and I believe to date 16 pregnant women have been infected from mosquito bites. 

Is the danger of Microcephaly as great as reported? So far none of the pregnant women here have been in their first trimester of pregnancy.  According to the World Health Organisation It seems as if somewhere between 1-13% of women who get infected in the first trimester run the risk of endangering their foetuses. 

What about those mothers-to-be who get infected during their second and third trimesters? It seems that we can only diagnose the virus when one has symptoms, checking for antibodies is not possible yet? Frequent monitoring and ultrasound scans are done, but until the birth one won't know for sure if the baby has been infected. 

PREVENTION is the main line of defence. 
Cover up when outside and use mosquito repellent that has 20% or less DEET to make sure it will do the trick. Fog your houses and gardens monthly and make sure that windows and doors remain closed. If mosquitoes do get into your condo/house you can all sleep under mosquito netting. It is quite fun, rather like sleeping in a grand tent. Some of them are soaked in mosquito repellant some are not. But they do help. 

I know people who's families are so anxious for them that they have left Singapore and fled to temperate climates for refuge. Of course that is one option. 

Dengue and Zika are both dangerous but the locals here live with the danger by taking sensible precautions. If you are pregnant or trying to start a family, or thinking of doing so in the next 6 months then please cover up and don't spend hours walking around in the Botanic gardens or the jungle. For the time being anyway.

On a lighter note there are only 89 days to go until Christmas. Yeah!!