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Category Archives: Labor

Research Checklist Ideas for Pregnancy, Labor, Birth and the Postpartum Period

Looking for ideas on things to know about pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period but don’t really know where to start? Here is a great research checklist to give you a starting point for the things you should research for your pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum care. Just click on the link below:

Research Checklist

 

Research Checklist

Posted in After Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth, Labor, Pregnancy.

22 Questions to ask while touring the maternity ward

Here are some questions to ask while touring the maternity ward:

1. What is the Cesarean Rate?
2. What is the Episiotomy Rate?
3. Do you have time limits on how long I can labor before intervention is suggested?
4. Do you automatically administer pitocin after birth? What if I don’t want it?
5. What birthing tools do you provide or allow? (birthing balls, birth stool, shower, tub, birth bars, etc.
6. What is the procedure for IVs when admitted? (Automatically start heplock vs wait until needed)
7. Do you allow women to eat and drink during labor?
8. What is your policy on cord clamping? If I want to delay, will you respect my wishes?
9. Do you allow immediate skin-to-skin before you do your routine checks on baby?
10. What does your routine checks of baby consist of?
11. Do you provide breastfeeding support? Is there a lactation consultant on staff?
12. How many visitors can I have at one time after birth?
13. How many people can I have in the room during the birth?
14. Do you allow women to move around the room freely during labor to help relieve pain?
15. Do you allow different positions for birth other than on my back in the bed? ( Standing up, hands and knees, squatting, etc)
16. Can my baby stay in the room with me at all times?
17. What are your policies on fetal monitoring? (intermittent or continuous) If continuous, is it wireless so I can still move around during labor?
18. What are the maternal and infant mortality rates?
19. If I need a C-Section, can my partner be in the room?
20. If I have a C-Section, do you allow immediate skin-to-skin?
21. Do you have students or residents? If so, how involved are they/could they be in my birth experience? What procedures do you allow them to do?
22. How often do you do vaginal exams?

Posted in General, Hospital Birth, Labor, Pregnancy.

What is a Doula?

doula baby

 

 

Definition: a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.

The word “doula” comes from the Greek meaning “a woman who serves”.

Studies show that in doula attended births:

*Labors are shorter

*Babies are healthier

*There are fewer complications

*Breastfeeding is more successful

*Spontaneous vaginal birth is more likely

*Less likely to need or ask for pain medications

*Less likely to have a Cesarean Section, vacuum or forceps-assisted birth

 

There are 2 different types of Doulas: Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula

Birth Doulas – Offer education and assist women in planning and carrying out their birth plans and expectations. They stay with the women throughout labor and offer emotional support, help with physical discomforts, creats an open line of communications between the women, her partner, and her care provider.

Postpartum Doulas – Offer education and support on things related to after birth such as breastfeeding, physical and emotional recovery, newborn care, bonding, light housekeeping and meal preparation. Research shows that families transition much easier with a good support team including a doula.

 

DOULA DO’S AND DONT’S

Do’s:

*Prepare and educate women and families for birth

*Help create a birth plan that includes expectations, wants and needs, and things you are uncomfortable with

*They help create a safe space allowing comfort, open communications between families and care providers, and emotional support

*They are advocates for mothers and partners during labor and childbirth

 

Dont’s:

*They are NOT medical professionals and therefore do NOT offer or perform any medical services such as exams, fetal heart monitoring, medical diagnosis, deliver babies, etc.

*They do NOT judge you or decisions you make

 

How much does a Doula cost?

Fees can be anywhere from $400-$1000 depending on the individual doula and the services she provides.

 

 

RESOURCES

http://www.dona.org/mothers/

http://americanpregnancy.org/planningandpreparing/postpartumdoula.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11595/what-is-a-doula-and-why-you-should-have-one-during-after-birth.html

http://ssbdoula.weebly.com/birth-services.html

http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/

 

 

Posted in After Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth, Labor, VBAC, Water Birth. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .

8 Common Hospital Interventions You CAN Avoid

 

Doctor and Patient

There are several common hospital interventions that ARE avoidable. Contrary to common belief, the hospital staff doesn’t always have your best interest at heart, and they are not always right. I have no problem admitting that hospitals can save lives when an emergency occurs, but they often try and do intervene even if it isn’t necessary.

Some of the most common interventions during a hospital birth include:

* Epidural – injections results in loss of sensation including pain by blocking the transmission of impulses through nerve fibers in or near the spinal cord. More than 75% of women receive an epidural at some point during labor.

* Pitocin – synthetic oxytocin used to promote uterine contraction and speed up labor.

* Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring – external and internal monitoring systems that track the heart rate of your baby during labor. Studies show that continuous monitoring does not have better outcomes than intermittent monitoring and may increase the chances of having an unplanned Cesarean Section.

* Urinary Catheters – some care providers push to give you a catheter during labor so you don’t have to worry about going to the bathroom during labor. However, having a catheter restricts your movement and usually means you cant leave your bed. Movement and position changes is very helpful during labor especially if you are progressing slowly. It encourages your baby to get into the right position for birth, and if you are attached to a catheter, your chances of being able to move around and change positions is slim to none.

* Artificial Rupture of Membranes – Also known as breaking the water. Some care providers push for this in order to promote labor progression, however, studies show that there are no more better outcomes than if you would let the membranes rupture on their own. Your water does not have to break for you to go into labor. Some babies are even born still inside the caul.

* Directed Pushing – History shows directed pushing started when women were extremely medicated and needed help knowing when to push. Most care providers still today like to direct you when to push and when not to even if you are having a natural birth. Your body knows when it should push and your contractions do most of the work for you.  However, if you receive an epidural you lose almost all feelings below your chest, so during labor if you cant feel your body, its very hard to know when to push. Avoiding an epidural will help avoid being directed to push.

* Episiotomy – A cut made in the tissues between a women’s vagina and anus. Studies show that 30-35% of women receive an episiotomy and many studies show that they do not improve outcomes of 3rd-4th degree tears. Some studies show that an episiotomy increases the chances of having a 3rd or 4th degree tear. An option to avoid episiotomy include using a warm compress or rubbing olive oil or against the women’s perineum.

* Cesarean Section – a surgical procedure with an incision made through a women’s abdomen and uterus in order to deliver their baby/babies. Today, 1 out of 3 women are having a Cesarean Section with numbers rising!

 

Ways to avoid these common interventions:

* While searching for your care provider, ask what their statistics are on each of these interventions and learn their procedures and policies. You may run into a provider that has policies and procedures that do not match your expectations and wants. This is where you have to do a little work. KEEP SEARCHING. Find a provider that is best for YOU. Just because ONE care provider does not share the same views as you, does not mean that another provider wont. You DO have options, you may just have to work to find the right one.

* Before you give birth at the provider of your choice, take a tour, learn your way around where you will be giving birth, and ask as many questions as you can think of at the time. I would suggest spending a few days coming up with questions ahead of time and ask anymore you may think of while you are on a tour.

* Hire a birth doula. They will be your support throughout the whole process from finding the right care provider to helping you have the birth experience that you want. Studies show “Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.”

* Write a birth plan. Include everything you want your birth to be, what interventions you want to avoid and which ones you are okay with, how you want to labor, etc. Don’t forget to write a plan for emergencies as well. You want to be as prepared as possible, whether you plan on giving birth in hospital, birth center, or at home. Going over the “just in case” scenarios is always a good idea for you and your family.

* Once you write your birth plan, make sure everyone that you plan on being involved with your birth knows exactly what you want and expect. Not only your family and birth supporter like your doula, but also your care provider. It is important that they know your expectations and what you are and are not comfortable with.

It is your right to be well informed about anything having to do with your healthcare. You can avoid a lot of unnecessary interventions by just being informed about what could happen and why. You have the right as a patient to just say NO! In the end, it is your body, your right, and your responsibility to take control of your healthcare. 

 

 

Resources:

http://chriskresser.com/natural-childbirth-v-epidural-side-effects-and-risks

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/labor-delivery/common-interventions-during-labor-delivery

http://givingbirthwithconfidence.org/2010/07/practices-that-promote-healthy-birth-avoid-interventions-that-arent-medically-necessary/comment-page-1/

http://chriskresser.com/natural-childbirth-vi-pitocin-side-effects-and-risks

http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20050826/episiotomy-rates-too-high-say-experts

Posted in Hospital Birth, Labor.

When to Call Your Midwife When You Think “Its Time”

When to call your midwife is definitely an important question to have answered before your labor starts.

Midwife Monitoring Baby

I’m going to give you a few pointers based on what I have learned so far as a Student Midwife, but ALWAYS ask your Midwife any questions that you have, that is why you hired them.

 

Despite what the movies show, labor rarely just starts by your water breaking. You usually, not always but usually, start having very small contractions that get more intense over a couple days time. If you can walk through, talk through, and sleep through your contractions, you definitely have time and can hold off on calling your Midwife. Most Midwives tell you that if you can sleep through your contractions DO IT, because you are going to work harder than you have ever had to work before. If possible, don’t tell anyone when you think you are starting to have contractions because people tend to create too much excitement which may lead to causing things to slow down and maybe stop completely. The best atmosphere to be in during any stage of labor is a calm, peaceful, and stress free environment. I would say, make the first call to your Midwife when your contractions are strong, lasting about 1 minute, and are about 5 minutes apart, for more than an hour. At this point you most likely have a lot of time before your Midwife needs to show up but, its nice to give a heads up so they can plan their day accordingly. Your Midwife will want to listen to you over the phone going through a contraction, they can usually tell how intense they are by the way you cope with the contraction and will be able to decide whether or not you will need them soon.

If your water breaks, you most DEFINITELY need to call your Midwife! They will want to know about how much fluid there was, the color and smell of the fluid, and whether or not you can still feel the movement of your baby. What a lot of women don’t know is that it is very easy to mistake your water breaking for a little gush of urine. Your baby is sitting right on your bladder so any little movement from them at this point can squeeze out a little urine, no problem. The easiest way to check if it is urine or if it was a rupture of your membranes: Lay down for several minutes, if you get up and there is no gush of fluid it was most likely just a little urine leak, if there is another gush of fluid its very likely your membranes have ruptured and you need to call your Midwife.

*Again unlike the scenes they show on the movies and TV, rupture of membranes does NOT mean that you are in active labor. You could still have hours to go after your water breaks, so your Midwife does not necessarily need to come right away. If everything is going well, you feel good, you can still feel baby moving, your Midwife says everything is good and normal based on the information you give, then you can just relax as much as possible and rest up for when things get much more intense.

Call your Midwife again when you are almost to the point where you cannot talk through your contractions and they feel almost unbearable. That’s a good sign things are progressing. Again, your Midwife will be able to make a good decision on the next steps to take based on how you sound over the phone.

 

You should ALWAYS call if any of these occur:

*You have a fever

*The familiar movement of your baby has changed

*You have any vaginal bleeding

*A contraction comes but does not go away

*You have back pain

*You experience very soft bowel movements or diarrhea

*You feel or see anything coming out of your vagina

 

Always keep in mind, you were made to give birth! Trust your body and listen to it!

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am not a Doctor, Midwife, or other health professional so please consult the appropriate professional before making any changes to your health or other applicable areas. You should always do what is right for your body.

 

Posted in Home Birth, Labor.

4 Things to Do to Help Labor Along Naturally

As you’re getting closer to meeting your baby, there are a lot of things you can do to help your labor along while staying as comfortable as possible.

 

1. Avoid extra stress and do not pay attention to time – If you are constantly looking at the clock, you will be spending a lot of your energy worrying about what time it is instead of really focusing on your body and what its doing to get ready to birth your baby. Every labor is different and despite hospital policies, most labors have no time limit.  It is a very important time, however,  and you need to be aware of what your body is going through and the signals that its sending you to help you move through contractions and eventually birth your baby. Same advice goes for any stress starters. Do not worry about cleaning, cooking, keeping family constantly updated, Facebook, etc. This is your time. If you have family or friends available for support, delegate those tasks to them. You just keep on laboring and trying to stay comfortable.

Breathing Through Labor

2. Nipple stimulation-Stimulating the nipples helps release oxytocin (the love hormone, also released during orgasm). Oxytocin is the hormone that is needed for contractions. So naturally if you stimulate the production of oxytocin, it encourages contractions. This is a great way to get your partner involved! Allow them to softly rub or pinch your nipples.

3. Stay as active as you can but don’t forget to rest – If you can sleep, do it when you can because soon enough it’ll be like you are running a marathon. If you cant sleep, walk around and move as much as possible. Staying active helps baby move into the correct position needed to birth. Try walking up and down the stairs if you can stand it. If you need to stop for a contraction, face towards the stairs with arms/elbows leaning on one stair and kneeling on another stair with two or three stairs in between. While resting on the stairs move your hips and sway them back in forth-along with gravity, these motions will help the baby to descend.

4. Stay hydrated and eat – Despite hospital policies, it is totally safe and strongly encouraged to eat and drink during labor. You need the energy for labor and you need to stay hydrated. There can be complications due to dehydration and it is very easy to become exhausted during labor so nutritious foods can help you stay energized. I wouldn’t have a huge meal by any means but small bits of snacks such as cheese cubes, yogurt, applesauce, toast, jello, popsicles, things that are easy to chew and swallow. Beverages I suggest would be water, vitamin water,  juice, smoothies, shakes, broth, etc.

A Cup of Yogurt

 

Posted in Labor. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .