Postpartum Night Sweats | What I Wish I Knew

Please enjoy the first installment of a new blog series that was inspired by our Facebook followers when we recently asked what they wish they had known about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum before they had a baby. Having a child is often accompanied by many surprises, and while you can’t always plan for everything, sometimes it helps to learn from the experiences of people who have already been there.

Postpartum Night Sweats

One commenter shared, “I wish I’d been warned about the hormonal night sweats post delivery. I legitimately thought I was dying when I woke up that first night shaking and shivering, drenched in sweat. Honestly, my postpartum night sweats were horrific. I don’t miss that!” – Alex H.

This is a pretty common complaint among new mothers and while it may be alarming at first, it typically isn’t anything to worry about. Oftentimes, within the first week or two after giving birth, you may find yourself being awoken at night, not only by your newborn, but also by intense sweating, potentially alternating between shivering and hot flashes; however, the increase in sweating probably isn’t from that sweltering Dallas-Fort Worth heat. Let us explain!

During pregnancy, your body retains fluid to support you and your baby. Toward the end of pregnancy, you may even experience swelling in your hands, face, feet, and ankles from the fluid retention. Additionally, during labor you may be given supplemental IV fluids. Once you give birth and you no longer need all the fluid your body has been holding onto, your hormones rid your body of it by causing increased sweating and frequent urination. This generally normal phenomenon can happen at any time during the day, but more frequently happens at night.

Is it dangerous?

While it can be quite uncomfortable, increased sweating after birth is typically a not a cause for worry. If you notice this happening for more than a couple of weeks, you may want to discuss it with your care provider. It’s also important to report it to your doctor or midwife immediately if you experience any other symptoms such as fever, dizziness, intense pain, or difficulty breathing. These may be signs of an infection, and should always be taken seriously.

What can I do to stop sweating?

Unfortunately, you may not be able to prevent this from happening, but you can make yourself more comfortable. Consider dressing in lose fitting, breathable pajamas. Keep an extra set of pajamas within easy reach in case you need to change in the middle of the night. You may even want to make your bed with several sets of sheets, so if you happen to sweat through one layer, you can easily remove it and have another set right underneath. Sleep with a fan on and be sure to keep yourself well hydrated.

This element of the postpartum experience may be something we don’t look forward to, but thankfully it doesn’t last forever and can be a sign your body is functioning properly. Be sure to check back next week for Part 2 of the “What I Wish I Knew” blog series.

Celebrating (Surviving) the Holidays with a New Baby

Congratulations! You had a baby this year and now you get to enjoy all the wonder and beauty of their very first holiday season. These tips from our seasoned experts will help you prepare for all the excitement the end of the year brings.

1. Stock up on Wine.

This is the first and most important step. This will set the tone for the next two months, so it’s imperative you don’t skip this one. If you don’t care for wine, that’s no problem. Eggnog, apple cider, or Irish coffee work just fine, as long as they are spiked with the alcohol of your choice. Be sure to carry your festive drink with you wherever you go.

2. Have your local pizza delivery shop on speed dial.

Let’s be honest, you don’t even like turkey the other 364 days of the year. The stuffing and pie might be tempting, but with a newborn, you won’t have time to cook a big meal from scratch. Just surrender to the fact that this year you’re saving your sanity and ordering pizza delivery. If you want some variety, chinese take-out is a good substitute.

3. Sign up for an Amazon Prime membership.

Forget the Black Friday sales. Don’t even think about stepping foot in the mall. All your baby wants is an empty cardboard box and some wrapping paper to tear up. For everyone else, there’s Amazon Prime. We live in a world where we can have anything we could possibly need delivered to our front doors with free two day shipping. This is the true holiday miracle.

4. Stay home.

Speaking of avoiding crazy parking lots and long shopping lines, just stay home altogether. Yes, holidays are meant to be spent with those you love, but it’s cold and flu season and you don’t want your baby getting sick. Use this as an excuse to stay home and avoid your drunk Uncle Al and judgmental Aunt Cheryl. If nobody buys that excuse, just tell your in-laws you’re spending time with your family this year and tell your family it’s the year to spend with your in-laws. You can sort that out next year.

5. Set your child’s expectations now.

It may be tempting to buy your baby all the popular toys and start a bunch of new traditions, but by setting the bar low early on, you’re actually setting yourself up for success when they’re older. For example, Elf on the Shelf may seem like a cute idea now, but wait until your child wakes you up at 5 a.m. crying because Elfie has been “resting” in the same spot for four days. When it comes to gift giving, tell people you’re raising your child to focus on relationships instead of material items. This will make you seem sophisticated.

6. Put your holiday decorations in storage.

Plan to keep them there for approximately 10-15 more years. Whether it’s Christmas lights and glass ornaments, a Hanukkah menorah, or a Kwanzaa kinara, they’re all basically death traps for babies. There’s no way to baby proof everything, so don’t even try. You can have nice things when your child is in middle school, or possibly in college.

7. Get a babysitter for New Year’s Eve.

This is the one holiday of the year when it’s acceptable to ditch your child and spend time with other adults without a baby screaming in your ear. You won’t get another chance at this until next year, so ignore the spit up on your cute dress and go let loose.

8. Have fun!

In all honesty, all you need is your sense of humor and a little patience. Try to take it easy. Enjoy your baby, your loved ones, and all the excitement (and food!) this time of year brings. The holidays will never be the same!

Vegan Banana Walnut Muffins

Last week was a very busy week for Bravo Birth DFW, as well as the Bravo family. I didn’t have time to grocery shop over the weekend, so I planned to do it on Monday morning. When that fell through too, I decided to use an online grocery ordering and delivery service that is relatively new to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Ordering was a breeze, and surprisingly my groceries were delivered within two hours, giving me just enough time to put everything away before I had to pick up my older kids from school and take them to their ballet class.

The grocery delivery was a huge lifesaver, but in my hurry to place the order, I had apparently ordered five bunches of bananas, rather than five single bananas. In total, I had about 35 bananas to use before they went bad. After giving one bunch to a neighbor, and bringing some to a play date to share with friends, we managed to eat most of them before they were too ripe, until only a handful were remaining.

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Everyone knows that too-ripe bananas call for banana bread, so I decided to make these banana walnut muffins as an easy, grab-and-go breakfast for us this coming week. The muffins can also be frozen in a ziplock freezer bag and then thawed and eaten at a later date. This would be a great snack to make ahead and freeze before birth to save some trouble of cooking and baking during postpartum recovery. Bonus: oats, nuts, and flaxseed are all galactagogues, meaning they may help increase breastmilk supply.

One of my children has food allergies, so I made these without dairy or eggs, but if you don’t want the vegan version, the flaxseed meal can easily be replaced with eggs. I hope you all enjoy the recipe that was born from my online grocery shopping mishap!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flax meal
6 tablespoons water
4-5 overripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tin.

2. Mix the flour, oats, walnuts, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Whisk the flax meal and water in a small bowl and allow it to thicken for 5 minutes.

4. Mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Add the flax mixture, brown sugar, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.

5. Gradually incorporate the wet mixture in with the dry ingredients, until just mixed.

6. Divide the batter between muffin cups and sprinkle remaining walnuts over the tops.

7. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

8. Let cool, then store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Placenta Encapsulation in Dallas-Fort Worth

From the time you contact us, to the time your placenta products are delivered, Bravo Birth DFW strives to create a seamless, first-rate experience for our clients. We understand that you have enough to focus on when it comes your birth, postpartum recovery, and caring for your newborn. Rest assured that our experts have every detail covered. Here’s what you can expect from the process.

Obtaining your Placenta
The process for taking possession of your placenta is very simple. The state of Texas has passed a law that requires your placenta to be released to you upon request, as long as testing of the placenta isn’t necessary. Hospitals, birth centers, and home birth midwives in Dallas and Fort Worth tend to be very compliant and easy to work with when requesting your placenta. Be sure to tell your medical team ahead of time that you plan on encapsulating, so they can save it for you and provide any necessary paperwork for you to sign.

Transporting your Placenta
If you are birthing at home, you may put your placenta in a sealed container or inside two freezer bags and place it directly in your refrigerator. If you are birthing elsewhere, you may bring a small cooler with you to your birthing location. At a hospital, a member of your medical team will generally put your placenta in a plastic container with a lid. If you are using a birth center, you should bring two large freezer bags to double bag the placenta. When you take possession of the placenta, place the container or freezer bags containing the placenta on ice inside your cooler. It can remain on ice for a few hours until someone, usually your partner, a family member, or friend can take it home to be stored in your refrigerator until encapsulation.

We are ready and available to encapsulate between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We pride ourselves on a quick turnaround for your placenta products, so be sure to notify us when you are ready for us to begin. If it will be an extended period of time before you choose to contact your placenta specialist to encapsulate, it may need to be stored in the freezer to preserve its freshness. Detailed storage instructions with appropriate time frames for storing on ice, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer, are provided for clients of Bravo Birth DFW.

Sanitation Procedures
We take our clients health and wellbeing very seriously. For your safety, all placenta services are conveniently performed right in your home. Your placenta never has to leave your possession and it’s not exposed to any pathogens you would not already encounter in your own living space. You never have to worry about your placenta getting confused with anyone else’s and you can oversee the entire process, if you like.

We adhere to the highest standards of practice for blood borne pathogens and food safety, as outlined by OSHA. The work space and all equipment is sanitized before and after each use, first with soap and hot water and next with a bleach solution. Any equipment that can’t be completely sanitized after use is thrown out, in order to prevent cross contamination from other placentas.

After the workspace and equipment are prepped, another step we take to ensure your safety involves steaming the placenta on the stove then later dehydrating thinly sliced pieces of it in a food dehydrator at 160 degrees for several hours. The heating and dehydration processes ensure that all the potential pathogens are killed with the high temperature and by removing all the moisture.

Upon completion, your kitchen will be left even cleaner than we found it.

Other Placenta Products
In addition to placenta capsules, we also offer placenta tinctures. A tincture is created by taking a small piece of your placenta and steeping it in six ounces of high quality, 100 proof vodka for at least six weeks. After this period of time, any remaining placenta pieces that have not dissolved are strained from the liquid, and your tincture is ready for consumption.

The benefits of a tincture are similar to that of capsules, with the added benefit of an extended shelf life. If stored in a cool, dark place, your tincture can be useful during times of need for years to come, including during menstrual cycles, and even menopause. Larger size tinctures are available upon request.

After Encapsulation
When you are presented with your placenta products, you will also receive a keepsake crafted from your baby’s umbilical cord. You will be provided with suggested guidelines for consumption and an open invitation to contact us at any time with questions. We are here to support you and your family as you adjust to life during the postpartum period.

To learn more about the benefits placenta encapsulation or to view pricing, please visit our Placenta Encapsulation service page. To reserve your spot on our calendar for placenta services, contact Bravo Birth DFW today.

How to Choose Your Pregnancy Health Care Provider

Having a great health care provider can be an essential part of a satisfying pregnancy and birthing experience. In the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, we are fortunate to have so many wonderful obstetricians and midwives. Finding the best health care provider for you before or during pregnancy may seem daunting, but these simple steps can make the process a little easier.

Evaluate your priorities. Are you seeking a provider who is known for working with special circumstances, such as VBAC or twin births? Would you prefer to birth in the comfort of your home or a mbirth center, or would you feel more at ease in a hospital setting? Are you interested in delaying umbilical cord clamping at birth and want a provider who will support that decision? These are just a few factors to consider, and at times it all may seem overwhelming. Everyone has different needs in pregnancy and birth, so make a list of what is most important to you and what might be a deal breaker to help you narrow down your search.

Consult an expert. If you are still unsure of where to start in deciding what your priorities are, a birth doula can help. When you hire a Bravo Birth DFW doula, you receive two private prenatal visits with us. Part of the visit is spent exploring all of the options available to you and getting to know your preferences. We support you and provide information as needed to help you narrow down your primary goals for birth. We also have the privilege of working with many different care providers in the metroplex and can often make recommendations on who may meet your needs.

Shop around. You may fall in love with the first OBGYN or midwife you meet. If that’s the case, great! Your intuition is a powerful thing and you should trust it. It is entirely possible to find the right fit on your first attempt, but if you’re unsure for any reason, don’t make the mistake of feeling like you’re locked into a permanent relationship with a provider. You can interview several people before making a decision, and keep in mind it’s never too late in your pregnancy to change to somebody who fits your needs. When considering a provider, be sure to evaluate your feelings on the other physicians who share a practice with your own provider. There’s always a chance your primary doctor will not be on call when you are in labor, and one of their partners may be there to assist in your delivery. It’s important you are comfortable with them, as well.

Seek out recommendations. In the age of technology, almost anything can be found on the internet. While you can’t always trust everything you read, it can be helpful to hear from others who have first hand experience. Google and Facebook reviews are a good place to start. Reaching out to a local pregnancy and parenting group can be another good source of information, and most people are more than happy to share their experiences with others. Having inside information on anything from the provider’s communication style and bedside manner to the length of the wait time for prenatal visits may be extremely helpful.

Consider your budget. Birth is an investment and it may not be the time to scrimp on a cheap experience; however, spending beyond your means or going into debt with a baby on the way may not be a feasible option. Find out if your ideal provider accepts your health insurance, what the out of pocket cost is, whether you can set up a payment plan, and what the timeline is for paying it off. Finances don’t always have to be the primary dictator of our decisions, but starting out on the right foot when having a baby is wise.

Finding a pregnancy health care provider who aligns with your needs doesn’t have to be stressful when you know what you want and what to expect. With the variety of options available in DFW, combined with your intuition and the knowledge you gain while deciding what your preferences are, you will be confident and fully equipped to find the right provider for you.