Unfortunately, feeling nauseous and queasy often go hand in hand with pregnancy. Often termed ‘morning sickness’, it’s important to note that the queasiness doesn’t always happen in the morning and can appear at any given time of day and night.
The dramatic increase in hormones, especially in the first trimester is to blame for this. Unfortunately it can sometimes diminish the excitement you’re feeling of being a parent to be. However, There is an abundance of natural remedies that can help alleviate and ways to cope if you’re experiencing these symptoms.
So what is ‘morning sickness’? Well It tends to start around 6 weeks gestation when the hormones increase, in particular; human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Typically the sickness peaks at around 12 weeks gestation and then begins to subside. However it’s important to remember every pregnancy is different, with some women experiencing it into the second and third trimester.
Additional factors that can have a part to play in how severe you may be feeling are:
- Multiple pregnancy (twins/triplets)
- First pregnancy
- Sickness in a previous pregnancy
- High BMI
- Stressful life circumstances can exacerbate the symptoms
- History of pregnancy sickness in family members
- History of migraines
Most women do experience some type of nausea feeling when pregnant (8 out of 10 women). The majority of the time it is manageable with certain adaptations that you can implement yourselves, for example:
- Ensure you get plenty of rest
- Try and avoid trigger foods that can be fragrant; even to the non pregnant nose
- Stock up on plain food, in particular dry crackers, plain toast and try to eat little and often, if at all possible
- Ginger and peppermint tea can also help digestion
- Acupressure wrist bands may also help with the queasy feeling
If the home remedies aren’t helping at you feel like it’s becoming severe, you may be experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum. This is a serious form of ‘sickness’ and can feel debilitating. It is vital to assess how you’re feeling and to get in contact with a medical professional if you have any concerns. Remember that we’re here to help you. There are other forms of treatment that can be provided such as ‘anti-emetics’. These are anti sickness medications that can be prescribed by your GP if the natural remedies do not help.
If you feel like you’re unable to keep food and fluids down, you’re losing weight and have signs of dehydration, please seek medical advice.
Most doctors have a bugbear or something that makes them cringe. Some of these can be most unexpected though usually they are things like toenails or eyes or something. Mine is sunburn. It makes me so ill that nursing staff direct me away from any cases (or even any parents attending with a child who themselves have sunburn. I feel nauseous, go pale and then faint.
Some of that is my own memories of my very Scottish skin turning salmon pink after alabaster and very quickly back again. Some of it is knowing the damage it does (I worked for 3 years in Oz and suncare was indoctrinated. I also developed temporary wrinkles which later vanished – phew!). It is 100% preventable and families often have no idea just how dangerous it is and that one sunburn doubles the risk of skin cancer and this only increases with each additional burn.
We might think that children look ‘healthy’ with a suntan and a crop of freckles. While they well might, each and every freckle is a marker of sun damage. The earlier children’s delicate skin is exposed to the sun, the more damage it does and they the longer they live with that damage. Cancer (melanoma in the case of skin) is caused primarily by how much damage (how severe and how often) and how long it’s been present. We used to see skin cancers in older people. It’s more and more common to see it in young women particularly. Sunbeds are certainly a part of this and there is at least some regulation of the industry now. Skin cancer occurs when tumour cells grow quickly – the body generally suppresses these. The more there are the harder that is.
The science of suncare.
You don’t even need a ’sunny’ day to get damage. 80% of harmful rays go straight through clouds. There are 2 types of ultraviolet rays (natural energy from the sun) which cause damage. You can’t see them – your skin sure can feel them. Delicate childrens’ (especially baby skin) is even more sat risk. We buy special gentle bubble baths and creams and then encourage sun exposure! We know how delicate and sensitive their skin is!
UVA and UVB are the two main wavelengths involved. UVA is said to largely cause ageing, where UVB largely causes burning. SPF numbers are based on how much longer we can sit in the sun before burning vs with no sunscreen. They are a multiple of the amount of time it would take with no sunscreen. U|VA causes tanning and when sunscreen offers protection against them they are called ‘broad-spectrum’. Originally sunscreen only protected against UVB. They are less intense though they penetrate more deeply to the lowest layer of the skin where skin cancers start. Tanning is the body’s attempt to protect itself from any more damage – not really such a sign of health!
Those years in Oz drummed good sun protection care into me. We have good advice here in the uk – it isn’t presented in such an accessible way though. They have Sid who used to Slip, Slop, Slap. He has got smarter now and now it’s Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.
So what are these?
SLIP: Slip on some clothes. Ideally densely woven (some will have an SPF on them). Have a collar and longer arms and legs if possible.
SLOP: Slop own sunscreen. SPF 30+ in the UK (50+ in Oz) Broad spectrum and particularly focusing on areas often missed – backs of ears, backs of necks, behind knees. It should be applied 30 mins before going into the sun and allowed to dry in. It should be reapplied frequently and particularly after swimming
SLAP: Slap on a hat. A wide brimmed one which covers the face and neck. Some hats even have neck extensions to protect the neck.
SEEK: Seek some shade – especially in the middle of the day. Have lunch in the shade for example.
SLIDE: Slide on some shades. These should fully cover they eyes and have UV protection.
On top of this advice, we should remember that babies under 6 months should not be in direct sunlight and that in the middle of the day the sun is much stronger and where possible should be avoided.
Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure so don’t panic, just start now.
Download Juno on IOS or Android and talk to one of our specialists for more sun safety advice.
Have you ever wondered what the Placenta is and what it does?
If you had a baby before or have attended a birth you might have been aware of a midwife in the corner carefully examining the placenta and membranes. Perhaps your midwife invited you or your partner to examine it with her?
It may be that you chose not to look then, however, you might be fascinated by what you see.
What Does the Placenta Look Like?
The word placenta derives from the Latin for cake and the Greek for “flat or slab-like” and this is how it appears. Placentas vary but they are approximately the size of a dinner plate. Roughly 15 – 20 cm in diameter, 2 – 3 cm in thickness, and 500g in weight.
If you look at it immediately following birth, you will see that it has two surfaces, a fetal surface and a maternal surface. The fetal surface or baby’s surface is smooth, shiny and blue/purple in colour and covered in a double layer of membranes. The umbilical cord is inserted into it (more about the cord and insertion types in a moment). The maternal surface has a cobblestone appearance due to the cotyledons (or lobes of the placenta) and looks like raw liver. It may sound gross, but as a piece of engineering, it is miraculous.
What Does the Placenta Do?
For nine months your baby has been swimming in a pool of amniotic fluid, warm and safe inside your womb. What maintains the pregnancy? How does your baby manage to take in oxygen? Their lungs were not operating yet. How do they manage to receive nutrients and how do they dispose of waste like carbon dioxide? The answer is the temporary organ called the placenta and you and your baby’s co-operation at a cellular level.
How it Works on the Mother’s Side.
The maternal side of the placenta or basal plate which is made of the mother’s tissue allows for maternal blood vessels such as arteries and veins to create a lake of blood rich in oxygen and nutrients. This is easily available to your baby. However, there is no direct contact between maternal and fetal blood vessels due to a semipermeable layer of tissue in the placenta called the placental barrier.
This barrier acts as a selective membrane to substances passing from maternal to fetal blood. It is a protection mechanism to keep both circulation systems separate. However, certain drugs can cross this barrier and affect your baby which is why morphine injections, for instance, are not given if birth is imminent.
How it Works on the Baby’s Side.
To explain what is happening it is easiest to start with the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord has two veins and one artery within it, all encased in a jelly-like substance called Wharton’s Jelly. When the cord is cut, all three vessels are visible and it resembles a smile emoticon ☺. The large vein forming the lips at the bottom and the two smaller arteries forming the eyes.
If you have never seen umbilical cords, I recommend you look at photography sites online showing their intricate spirals and colours (shades of blue and creamy white). One of my favourite births was when a baby girl emerged with her hand holding onto her cord. She seemed particularly relaxed. Nowadays it is common practice to allow the cord to stop pulsing before it is cut. Your midwife will ask you if you wish this as part of your Birth Plan.
The whole placenta looks like a drawing of the Tree of Life on the baby’s side of the surface. If you trace the cord back from your baby’s umbilicus (belly button) you will discover that the three vessels within the umbilical cord eventually branch out and split up inside the chorionic plate (or baby’s placental tissue) creating a tree-like network of branches and roots that protrude into the maternal lake of blood described above. This allows for your baby to receive oxygen and nutrients from you and for your system to take away carbon dioxide on behalf of your baby. Cool isn’t it?
The Placental Examination or What Your Midwife is checking for?
Firstly, the appearance and size of the placenta which indicates how well the placenta has been functioning. We also check that there is no unusual smell and that it is in good condition. A bad smell may indicate an infection has been present and perhaps that you and or your baby may need antibiotics.
We check that there are two membranes present. You may see us rubbing the membranes between our gloved fingers or peeling the membranes back and we check that there are no ragged edges on the maternal side of the placenta. Nor any missing lobes or (cotyledons).
If the membranes or part of the placenta is left inside, this may lead to infection or make it difficult for the uterus to contract properly and stop the bleeding from your womb. Midwives also check the umbilical cord to ensure the three blood vessels described above are present.
We also note how and where the cord is inserted and if there have been any knots in the cord. The umbilical cord insertion site to the placenta can be described as central, lateral, marginal (battledore) and velamentous insertions (where the cord is inserted into the membranes instead of the placenta). Central and lateral insertions are the most common types.
All the findings are documented and you may see the following written on your discharge paperwork – “placenta and membranes complete” or “placenta and membranes doubtful”. This information is useful for your GP or Community Midwife in helping to assess your risk for excessive postnatal bleeding and or infection.
How long can it take for me to deliver my Placenta?
Delivery times for the placenta vary, but if you are having a natural birth usually you will deliver your placenta within an hour. If your bleeding is heavy or if you have decided to have an oxytocin injection (a drug to help your uterus contract and shear away the placenta) then delivery of the placenta can take 5 or 10 minutes. Your midwife will discuss delivery options with you as part of your birth plan.
Cutting the Umbilical Cord
Some parents wish to cut the cord themselves, but be warned the cord can feel quite resistant to cut through. Imagine cutting into a thick rubber band with a none too sharp scissors. Parents usually look at me horrified when I describe the sensation of cutting the cord as “being chewy”. I promise no midwife to my knowledge has ever yet bitten into one.
Occasionally, parents opt for a “Lotus birth” where the umbilical cord is left uncut after childbirth. This means the baby remains attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the belly button. This usually happens within 3–10 to days after delivery. It is often done to honour the shared life between baby and placenta.
Cultural Beliefs and Customs
Many societies give particular significance to the placenta, seeing it as a twin, grandparent or guardian to the newborn. In the Maori tradition, the word “Whenua” is used for both the placenta and land. The placenta is buried on tribal land. It is thought that the placenta creates a bond between the child and tribe. Often a tree, signifying new life, is planted during the ceremony and its burial is viewed as a gift to Mother Earth. In Malay culture following birth, a ritual cleansing of the placenta and the umbilical cord takes place. Both of these are then buried in the doorway of the familial home, alongside books and pencils to encourage the child to be studious.
Placentophagy (eating part or all of the placenta) became popular in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Although there is little clinical support for doing this practice, traditional Chinese medicine believes that ingesting the placenta after birth ensures a quick recovery, improved lactation, and prevents postnatal depression. The first recorded practice of this took place 2000 years ago in China.
Perhaps you feel differently about the placenta now? In any case, you should realise that the placenta belongs to you and that how you choose to dispose of it is entirely up to you.
On Wednesday May 12th, Juno’s Paediatric service will become a paid subscription costing £9.99 per month. Before you flip the table or throw your phone into a hedge, let us explain what the changes are, why we are making them and how it will improve your service with Juno.
What are the changes?
From Wednesday May 12th, parents will need to subscribe £9.99 a month to start a conversation and share a concern with one of our paediatricians. However, you will now be able to access our midwives AND paediatricians with the same, simple subscription. This means we can offer the very best advice and support throughout your pregnancy and into parenthood.
All existing midwifery subscribers:
You can now speak to a paediatrician with the same subscription and will not be prompted to resubscribe. Your subscription now covers both specialists. Bonus!
All existing subscribers without a midwifery subscription:
All your existing conversations with a paediatrician will remain free.
If you start a new conversation or set up a child profile, you will have to subscribe.
If you choose to subscribe, you will still get a free two-week trial.
What hasn’t changed?
The app remains completely free to download.
You will not be asked to subscribe until you have created a bump or child profile.
If you subscribe you will still get a free two-week trial.
Why are the prices changing?
Good question. The answer is – Juno has BIG plans for the future. And as we all know from life, big plans require a bit more money. With our new subscription plan we will reinvest it into our service, making it more effective and efficient.
What does this mean for you, the parent, though?
We are going to make Juno more comprehensive, opening up the doors to potential 24hr, 7 days a week service. It is proven that anxiety hits us most during the night and we are working hard to alleviate that issue.
We also plan to offer more for every parent and parent-to-be:
More practical and personal medical content straight from our specialists.
One-on-one consultations to address and pre-empt common childhood concerns.
Different ways to interact with our specialist: video, zoom sessions, regular check-ins, etc.
Watch this space for updates as there will be plenty to come to improve your Juno journey soon. Get in touch if you have any ideas to change your experience for the better, we would love to hear from you.
And thank you for taking care with Juno.
You can download Juno now for IOS or Android and start your two week-free trial.
Does your little one suffer from eczema? Well as it turns out, around one in five children do. The dry, itchy skin can make them miserable and as a parent you just want to make it go away. Whilst there is no definitive cure for eczema, as it differs person by person, there are many ways to help treat and soothe the itch.
As always, our specialists are here to help. Here are their best steps to prevent and soothe flare ups and manage your child’s eczema:
After more tailored advice? Download Juno on IOS or Android now and chat to a specialist in minutes.
Juno is nothing without the healthcare professionals that operate it. It’s time to meet the midwives that make our midwifery service so special. Thanks to their contributions to Juno, they can ensure that every parent-to-be gets the guidance they need, when they need it. Each of our midwives are proud supporters of our healthcare system, with many also working with the NHS. By using Juno, they can release the pressure on it and make sure it is protected. They champion the importance of midwifery and allow new parents the possibility of accessing prenatal advice, wherever they are. I think it’s fair to say – we love our midwives!
Midwifery has never been more relevant than in this moment. In a time when restrictions hinder our access to health information, online support has never been more vital. Pregnancy can unearth a host of dizzying questions that can be anxiety inducing for any mother. Whether it’s a niggling query that keeps you up at night or a new pressing concern, Juno’s midwifery team is here to help. Each of our expert midwives have different skills and experience to give the best range of advice. This includes a variety of expertise in birthing styles, from a range of settings (hospital, community, etc).
Meet the team
Midwifery on Juno may have only just begun, but we have already seen many expectant mums turn to our midwives for support. It already appears that our service comes at a crucial moment for healthcare and our midwives think it’s an important step for midwifery. Here is an introduction to our excellent team of midwives and the variety of experience they boast.
Experience midwifery in moments and download Juno now on IOS or Android.
Juno’s midwifery service is almost here to provide much needed pregnancy support and guidance for those that need it. And as we build to our awaited release, we want to celebrate those that will make our service so special – our midwives. We have assembled a team of highly experienced midwives to ensure that the information given is up-to-date, friendly and comforting. The very best in midwifery support.
These midwives are our heroes and we want them to become a reliable source of reassurance for every single parent-to-be. We are happy to introduce Hannah Harvey as Juno’s Lead Midwife and a valuable member of Juno’s support service. What’s more, she is a mum-of-three (nearly four!) and has that grounded experience of being a mum first-hand. She perfectly encapsulates the hard working ethic of all Juno’s healthcare professionals and supports our aim to make specialist healthcare accessible for everyone.
“I have worked as a Midwife since 2011 in various roles including hospital and community settings. After 3 years as a caseload midwife, I realised how important it was for the women I was looking after to be able to reach me whenever they needed to.”
“I was on call for them 24/7 and having the knowledge that they could message me with any worries or concerns gave them full support in pregnancy and after birth with their newborns. They felt less anxious and had peace of mind throughout their journey into parenthood.“
“With this in mind, in 2016 I developed a service called Ask the Midwife. Users could use the app to contact a midwife whenever they wanted and it got so much amazing feedback. Juno is now relaunching an updated version of this and I am so excited to be a part of it and watch it grow.”
“There is so much conflicting advice available on the internet. ‘Dr Google’ being the worst to make you worry, unnecessarily sometimes. Being able to contact a midwife using the Juno app means you can get consistent medical advice to help you through one of the most important times in your life.”
“Juno is such a great resource for new parents and parents-to-be. It’s great to help alleviate anxieties and concerns at such an important time in your life. I believe Juno can work in close partnership with our health system and help relieve the strain on it.”
“I am honoured to be a part of it and so excited to be able to bring healthcare services into the 21st century with midwifery advice at the touch of a button.”
Sign up to the midwifery waitlist now!
Sound the klaxon and stop the press! Midwifery advice is coming to Juno!
Recently we’ve been thinking hard about how to better help parents-to-be across the UK. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right pregnancy advice, at the right time. But we want to change that. We are partnering up with Ask The Midwife to provide fast guidance for new mums throughout their pregnancy journey.
Ask The Midwife’s Hannah Harvey (BSc) is joining Juno to ensure that the advice given is trustworthy, friendly and reassuring. With all her experience, she brings a team of expert midwives to be at hand when parents need them most.
What is Ask The Midwife?
In 2016, Hannah Harvey created Ask The Midwife as an online platform to give women access to midwifery advice whenever they needed it. Whether it was guidance during early pregnancy, or after birth with their newborn baby, Ask The Midwife aimed to bridge the gap with online interaction between midwives and women. Whilst having over 10 years experiences practising midwifery, Hannah is also a mum-of-three (and nearly four!). We couldn’t think of anyone better to help lead Juno, pass on her expertise and help parents with their questions or concerns.
At Juno, we are determined to continue Hannah’s endeavour to give reassurance, support and accurate and up-to-date information for every parent-to-be. We think that midwifery advice should be readily available at all times and if pregnant women are in any doubt, they can just ask Juno. Together, we hope to become a refuge of reliable guidance for parents throughout pregnancy and beyond.
Why midwifery matters.
During pregnancy, a midwife can’t be there all the time to answer your questions. There are always moments of doubt and worry over what is happening to your body and baby. We want midwifery advice to be easily accessible, delivered fast and unique for every user. Here are some key figures about midwifery and its use within the UK:
- 43% of women did not see the same midwife every time or almost every time during pregnancy.
- 8% did not have the name and phone number of their midwife.
- 75% of women had not met any of the staff who cared for them during their labour and birth before.
- 23% reported that when they contacted their midwife they were not given the help they needed.
These statistics clearly show that adopting a midwifery service is a step in the right direction for healthcare. With the help of Ask The Midwife, we hope to meet the demands of midwifery advice and help as many pregnant parents as possible.
Like what you see? Good to hear! Sign up to the midwifery waitlist now!
Juno is bursting with excitement and pride to reveal Dr. Shruti as our Clinical Lead. She joins the rest of Juno’s expert team of paediatricians to deliver reliable and exceptional advice to parents. We are delighted to have a professional with the calibre of Dr. Shruti to help guide and shape Juno going forward. With a wealth of experience at her disposal, she also brings together our network of highly qualified paediatricians for a better, coordinated care.
Dr. Shruti is described as ‘the full package, with great communication and clinical skills. She has an enthusiasm for working to improve and change practice, as well as being a kind and approachable colleague.’
“My constant drive and motivation are some of my strongest attributes fuelling achievements in my career thus far.”
“Uniquely, I am dual qualified in General Practice and General Paediatrics. My plethora of experience places me in a privileged position to better understand the complexities and challenges faced by both primary and secondary care in our incredible, yet overburdened, healthcare system.“
“This makes me perfectly placed to join Juno! My vision is to integrate the different interfaces of healthcare with technology in this evolving digital era. I aim to lead the transformation and delivery of specialist healthcare advice as we know it.”
“To better manage the challenges faced by health organisations in the current climate of the NHS, I have undertaken formal training in leadership and management, a particular area of interest. This has enabled me to adopt a positive, reflective and resilient approach to my leadership and handle any challenge with a sense of calm.“
“I will apply these skills in my role as Clinical Lead of Juno, to facilitate collaborative partnerships between clinicians, but most importantly to deliver easily accessible and exceptional standards of patient-centred care. Championing patient safety is paramount every step of the journey.”
“This app enables parents to access expertise at their fingertips, empowering them to manage common conditions with confidence. This enables a reduction in unnecessary visits to the GP and A&E, with better experiences and outcomes for children and their families. I genuinely believe Juno is going to revolutionise accessibility to specialist healthcare advice as we know it.”
“I am extremely excited to join such an incredibly passionate and committed team, whose ethos, values and behaviours align with my own high standards and expectations. My belief is that every interaction is not only an opportunity to teach, but also to learn. With the help of the powerhouse behind Juno, I hope to learn a lot.”
It’s hard to not be swallowed up by the constant barrage of headlines around the COVID-19 pandemic. Headlines like: ‘Are more children being admitted to hospital with COVID-19?’ are not just anxiety inducing, but a prime concern for parents across the country. Even the BBC recently published a story exploring whether COVID patients might be getting younger.
But fear not, Juno is here to help. With the assistance of our Clinical Lead – Dr. Shruti – and our team of expert paediatricians, Juno is available to give parents all the facts around COVID-19 and the expertise they need for real reassurance.
Juno’s Clinical Lead, Dr. Shruti, explains:
“Despite the fact children are testing positive for COVID-19, they are usually well, or display symptoms in keeping with a mild viral illness. We are certainly not seeing more children being admitted with this virus at present.”
“As this pandemic has evolved we have seen an unusual syndrome which appears to be linked to this virus: Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 (PIMS-TS). Reassuringly, this is very rare and can be treated.”
“The key messages are therefore:
+Do not panic. On the whole, children with COVID-19 do not become seriously unwell.
+Trust your parental instincts. If you are worried about your child, contact our highly-skilled team of specialists at Juno who will ensure your child’s health is our top priority.
+If you are concerned because your child looks very unwell, seek urgent medical attention.”
Professor Rusell Viner, President of The RCPCH (the Royal College of Child Health & Paediatrics) stated:
“Children’s wards are usually busy in winter. As of now we are not seeing significant pressure from COVID-19 in paediatrics across the UK. As cases in the community rise there will be a small increase in the number of children we see with COVID-19, but the overwhelming majority of children and young people have no symptoms or very mild illness only. The new variant appears to affect all ages and, as yet, we are not seeing any greater severity amongst children and young people.”
If you are ever concerned with the health or wellbeing of your child, Juno offers fast and reliable advice from an entire network of highly qualified paediatricians. With Juno, you are able to get a timely opinion from a paediatrician from the comfort of your own home. Whether you have a question or a concern, getting started and receiving advice couldn’t be easier.
If you are unsure on what action to take, you can refer to the RCPCH traffic light system for guidance. If your child’s health concern closely aligns with Green or Amber, Juno is ready to give reliable expertise. However, whilst Juno’s advice service is fast and convenient, parents should not hesitate to contact 999 if their child’s health is an emergency.
Have any questions about how Juno works? Visit our FAQ page.
Download Juno for IOS or Android now.