Contractions, baby movements and how to hold on to your bladder control: midwife Natasha Cullen of Beloved Bumps answers the most commonly asked questions from expecting and new mothers (and you could win a prenatal course!)
If you’re pregnant in Singapore and looking for prenatal and postnatal education and support, you need to know about Beloved Bumps. We love that its courses are all about empowering parents with knowledge and helping them to build a strong support network: you won’t just learn about labour and birth, pregnancy fitness, postnatal wellbeing, and breastfeeding and bottle feeding – you’ll receive expert, unbiased advice in a relaxed setting where you can make great connections with other parents.
Beloved Bumps’ founder, midwife and mum Natasha Cullen, grew up here in Singapore and trained and worked in London, and she’s passionate about helping pregnant women make informed choices and understand what is happening at each stage of labour. “I do not judge anyone on what kind of birth they plan to have, pain relief they want or how they would prefer to feed their baby,” she says. “It’s important to me to help people in any way I can, and you can’t beat being both a woman’s advocate and cheerleader!” Cheers to that, we say. Here she shares some of her invaluable pregnancy and birth knowledge by answering the top five questions she’s encountered after helping thousands of women!
1. ‘What do real contractions feel like? And when should I go to hospital?
Labour can start at any time, but is considered ‘full term’ when you are past 37 weeks. Contractions tend to start very sporadically, and may be period pains, back pain, or you may just feel a bit ‘off’ and sick. These then gradually become more regular over time, until you notice that there is a pattern to them (ie. Every hour). If this is your first baby then going into labour can take days… and yes I mean days. And they can start and stop over that time. Eventually, they will become closer together, and start becoming much more regular – cue the contractions timer app on your phone! They then will become longer and stronger, you will realise you won’t be able to talk through the contractions any longer and they will be lasting anywhere from 40-60 seconds. When you are timing them every 3-4 minutes, and they are lasting 40-60 seconds, and you are having to breathe through the contractions then you can pretty much guarantee that you are going into active labour! So, when do you go to hospital? We advise to wait at least an hour into these regular contractions, and if you can manage two hours then great!
2. ‘Can I exercise during pregnancy?’
Absolutely! Regular exercise has lots of benefits such as improving your posture, strengthening your body for labour, reducing backache, reducing stress and boosting your energy levels. If you were active before you became pregnant then continue at a level that is comfortable for you. If you weren’t doing any exercise then don’t start anything strenuous – something like pregnancy yoga or even long walks is great.
3. ‘How do I know if I’ve broken my waters?’
Your waters can break at any stage – they don’t necessarily break before labour starts. If you suspect that they have broken, make a note of the time, put a pad in your underwear and observe for any loss. If the pad is becoming wet then call your doctor and you will need a check-up. The timing is important so note it down.
4. ‘My baby is moving, but not as much as usual – what should I do?’
Call your doctor. This is something I am hugely passionate about: it is really important to keep an eye on babies’ movements. Please do not rely on home dopplers for reassurance – they do not give you any indication on whether baby is well or not, just that it is alive (and you may even be picking up your heartbeat not your baby’s).
5. ‘I gave birth a few weeks ago and am leaking urine when I cough. Can this be fixed?’
I can’t stress enough the importance of doing your pelvic floor exercises as soon as you can after birth – which is why Beloved Bumps includes a pre-and postnatal fitness class in the course. Think of an activity that you do every day – breastfeeding, making a cup of tea, eating breakfast – and do them at this time. This will strengthen your bladder muscles and improve bladder control.
For your chance to win one of two Prenatal Courses with Beloved Bumps this November, worth $750 each, simply fill in our entry form below. Plus, ALL HoneyKids readers can enjoy 10% off the course fees for the Beloved Bumps Prenatal Course in November or January with the code Honeycombers.
This competition has now closed. The winners are Jane Koh and Jess Bradshaw. Congratulations Jane and Jess on your win and on your bubs-to-be! We hope you enjoy the course.
Please note that by entering this competition you will be added to the HoneyKids subscriber list to receive our quick weekly updates with invites to our super popular events, great reads and more giveaways! You may also be contacted by our prize partner, Beloved Bumps. Please check out our full competition terms and conditions.
Course dates : 20 and 27 November, 2 December(fitness), 4 and 9 December
For babies due beginning to end of January 2018
4 x prenatal education sessions
1 x prenatal fitness class
1 x postnatal reunion
1 x postnatal fitness class
1 x Ladies’ lunch at Blu Kouzina
Collision 8, High Street Centre, 1 North Bridge Road, #08-08 Singapore 179094
Beloved Bumps is holding courses at East Coast (Sandbank), West Coast, Sentosa and Central (at Collision 8). The team consists of Natasha Cullen and Anna Kwan, a highly experienced personal trainer specialising and pre and postnatal fitness. Natasha and Anna are soon to be joined by a lactation consultant.
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
Do you need a doula during pregnancy and birth?
What you need to know about pregnancy insurance in Singapore
I survived hyperemesis gravidarium, (or extreme morning sickness)
New dads, here’s what you can do to help the baby