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new look and new server in the works May 13, 2009

Posted by guinever in birth, doula, pregnancy.
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this header crI have a brand new look to my website. I’m moving from a free blog at wordpress.com to hosting it myself on a different server.  The name and the URL will be the same as it always has been. There might be a few days where my URL points both at this old site and my new site. If you’re seeing this post, then you’re still at my “old” location.

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Bradley childbirth class in Lexington, KY May 11, 2009

Posted by guinever in birth, pregnancy.
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For classes with a certified Bradley Method® instructor in Lexington, KY, please contact Deborah Tighe at (859)227-2700 or domesticengineer@insightbb.com

The Bradley Method® teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. Most women, with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach, can learn to give birth naturally. The Bradley Method® is a system of natural labor techniques in which a woman and her coach play an active part. It is a simple method of increasing self-awareness, teaching a woman how to deal with the stress of labor by tuning in to her own body. The Bradley Method® encourages mothers to trust their bodies using natural breathing, relaxation, nutrition, exercise, and education.

The Bradley Method® focuses on ways to help couples to stay low risk. While occasionally there are risk factors over which no one has control, staying healthy and low risk can help to avoid complications, and low risk mothers have more choices. Another main focus in classes is that relaxation is the key to The Bradley Method® during labor. It is the safest and most effective way to reduce unnecessary pain and to handle any pain that is experienced. While other methods seek to control the sensations of labor (emphasizing distraction as their primary labor control technique), The Bradley Method® encourages mothers to trust their bodies (emphasizing relaxed abdominal breathing and relaxation throughout labor).

Each series run 12 weeks long and should be started no later than the 28th week of pregnancy. Class sizes are small with no more than 7 couples per series and are taught in a relaxed home setting.

surfing for pregnancy posts and finding the 7 best April 13, 2009

Posted by guinever in birth, doula, homebirth, midwifery, pregnancy.
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If you want to read one woman’s chronicle of all her birth experiences from hospital to home,   including the heartache of miscarriage, check out relevant living.

That birth, as fast and furious as it was, was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I got to go into labor, labor however I wanted, in whatever position was the most comfortable, and deliver my baby without strangers poking, prodding and forcing or coercing me into taking drugs that weren’t necessary.

Birth talk explains how a woman communicates non-verbally during labor and how you can read her cues and help her through labor.

One mother writes detailed notes about Ina May’s guide to Childbirth which just so happens to be my personal favorite pregnancy book.

Here’s a conversation about inductions among obstetricians as reported by a certified nurse midwife . The OBs  were complaining about possibly working at 2 in the morning.

Not even once did the welfare of the mom and/or baby enter into the discussion.

On a similar vein,  nurses know that some OBs are cesarean happy.

The well-rounded mama is looking to write about fears during pregnancy.

Things like……how will I ever fit behind a steering wheel in my car at 9 months pregnant? Will my car’s seat belt go over my belly?

Kathy posted a video with 4D ultrasound images that show a baby’s growth in the womb.

think twice, no think three times before being induced for labor April 11, 2009

Posted by guinever in birth, labor, pregnancy.
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My pregnant readers often ask if I think they should be induced.  After reading each scenario, my usual thought is, “No.”  But that is a decision to be made by a woman after discussing it with her medical care provider.

Read “Don’t let this happen to you”  part 1 and part 2 written by a labor nurse all about a birth that started with an unnecessary induction.

Questions to consider before saying yes to induction:

  1. Will my health be compromised if I continue my pregnancy?
  2. Will the baby’s health be compromised if I just wait for labor to start on its own?
  3. What will happen if I don’t induce today, tomorrow or next week?
  4. Why does the doctor want to induce? Is it for his/her convenience or is it for the health of me and my baby?

Consider this:  50% of inductions in first-time mothers result in a cesarean birth. Yikes!  That’s half. The over-all cesarean rate in the U.S. is currently 31% according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention.)

The cesarean delivery rate rose 2 percent in 2007, to 31.8 percent, marking the 11th consecutive year of increase and another record high for the United States.

Not all inductions are bad or unwarranted. If you have a medical condition such as very high blood pressure, diabetes (not gestational diabetes), pre-eclampsia, an induction is desirable. An induction should be considered only when mother or baby is in danger if the pregnancy continues.

Common non-medical reasons for induction

  1. Doctor is going on vacation
  2. Doctor wants to do all his deliveries during the day and not get called in the middle of the night. He wants to control the timing of your labor.
  3. Doctor gets paid more for a surgical birth than for a vaginal birth.
  4. It’s the last week of December and the couple wants to be able to claim the new baby as a deduction on their taxes.
  5. Couple’s parents are in town for the birth and so they “need” to induce before they go back home.
  6. Mom wants to plan her birth so she can time her maternity leave for work.

So why do many inductions end in surgery?

It’s because the body just isn’t ready for birth. The cervix isn’t ready to dilate. If you’re nearing your due date and you or  your doctor wants to induce, please consider the bishop score which takes into account baby’s position, and the dilation and effacement of the cervix. You can take this short 5 question quiz based on the Bishop score to see if being induced might work for you.

Here’s an all too common labor scenario:  Mom can’t handle the high doses of pitocin so her blood pressure goes up. This affects the baby. Mom gets the epidural because she can’t handle the contractions on pitocin. The epidural makes the labor slow down, so the pitocin is increased. Afterall,  she can’t feel the contractions anymore. Baby increasingly gets worse and worse until a cesarean is needed to save the baby. Mom is worn out and can’t take care of her baby who is having trouble breastfeeding because he’s so lethargic from the drugs that crossed over the placenta.

induction 101

If your cervix is really soft, you might get to skip this first step and just go to the hospital in the morning. But if your cervix is hard like the tip of your nose, you’ll be asked to come in at night and you’ll be given a prostaglandin on your cervix for the purpose of softening it. Some women are able to sleep through the night. Other women feel contractions and are uncomfortable enough that a good night’s sleep is impossible. By morning, your cervix should be nice and soft and ready for the next step in the induction. How long does it take the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters?  But first, let’s answer the following question:

what’s a prostaglandin?

Naturally occurring prostaglandins are in semen. Therefore, you can have all the prostaglandins you could ever need and want in the comfort of your own home. The best way to soften your cervix is to have sex with your husband several times during the last month of your pregnancy.

There are two chemical prostaglandins approved by the FDA for the purpose of inducing labor. They’re the pge2 type and they’re cervidil which is similar to a tampon that is inserted and then can be pulled out and prepadil which is a gel that is rubbed onto the cervix.

But there’s another prostaglandin that’s a lot cheaper than the two mentioned above.  It is not approved by the FDA for labor.  It’s called cytotec and it is used in the treatment and prevention of stomach ulcers. But because it is a prostaglandin and it’s cheap, doctors started experimenting with it to see if it would work during labor.  To quote a labor nurse,

Cytotec turns the cervix to mush. It works really well.

Another name for cytotec is misoprostol. Here’s the FDA fact sheet on misoprostol. Cytotec should not be used during labor; it can over-stimulate the uterus at the least and cause death of mother and child at the worst.

so what happens if you say no to induction?

Wait. Be patient. It’s hard sometimes; I know. Be aware of baby’s movements. Continue your pre-natal visits to monitor the baby’s health and your health. If everything is ok, be confident in your body’s ability to birth your baby. Your body has grown and nourished your baby for nine months and still can. Labor will start. No one was pregnant forever.

giving birth makes her feel feminine April 1, 2008

Posted by guinever in birth, birth stories, labor, midwifery, pregnancy.
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Thanks to Molly for sharing the birth stories of her third and fourth children.

I did not use a doula for baby #3. I really wanted to, but it wasn’t practical at that time. My previous doula wasn’t available any more, so we decided to take the info we had learned from her, and all our experience, and try a natural birth on our own. We chose a practice with midwives because I did not want to use a doctor. When I got to the hospital they wouldn’t admit me because I wasn’t progressing.

My contractions felt strong to me, but the nurse told me I probably wasn’t even in labor and sent me home. I didn’t want to go home because lived over an hour away. So we went out for dinner and saw a movie. I had a stress ball with me which I squeezed every time I had a contraction. Fortunately, we were at a movie that was very loud so hopefully no one heard my moaning. When we got back to the hospital, they still refused to admit me. They told me to take a tylenol p.m. and go home to bed. Bummer.

At home I got in the bathtub and tried to relax. The tylenol wasn’t cutting it. Go figure. I told my husband that I couldn’t bear to feel like this and not be in labor! He said I should get dressed and go back to the hospital, but I told him I didn’t feel like traveling. I didn’t even want to get dressed. And I wasn’t in labor anyway, according to the nurse, so why bother?

I was going to just lay down and try to sleep (ha!) He was getting very worried and insisted that I get dressed just in case. I could barely lift my leg to put my pants on. By the time I was dressed, it was clear we should get back to the hospital ASAP. Another hour and 15 minutes in the car was torture. I was panting, trying not to bear down. Transition happened in the car this time, and when we got to the hospital it took less than 10 minutes before the baby was born.

I had been in labor after all, LOL!

in labor with baby number 4

With our last baby, a fortuitous move placed us just 10 minutes from the hospital. Yeah! When my water broke, we drove straight over. My midwife wasn’t on duty and I had to use a different one. She didn’t know me, but I made my commitment to natural birth quite clear to her up front. I was frustrated because the staff didn’t want to let me get up and walk around since my water had broken. I was afraid that labor wouldn’t progress if I couldn’t do something active. I didn’t want to sit in bed the whole time.

laboring in the bathroom

They couldn’t keep me from going to the bathroom, so I got up and walked to the toilet and squatted there as many times as I felt I could justify. After awhile, they finally allowed me to walk around the halls, with frequent monitoring. My labor progressed at a good rate and it was finally time to push. I was having a hard time and the midwife suggested I squat on the bed. I had never given birth in that position before and it hurt like crazy to try and do it. The pressure was almost unbearable. But it worked great.

Unfortunately, the baby’s shoulders weren’t coming out. He was too broad shouldered. The midwife grabbed the baby and turned him like a corkscrew and pulled him out. That is probably the strangest thing I have ever felt, and not something I care to ever repeat! But it was amazing once he was out to hold him, and to know that, once again, I had given birth.

Giving birth naturally makes me feel so feminine! I may not be very lady-like in the process, as I tend to be one who makes noise. But I feel like I am doing what my body was created to do.

It was less than 5 minutes after our fourth son was born that I turned to my husband and said, “I want to have another one right away!”

You can read Molly’s other birth stories.

You can submit your birth story too; please click here for guidelines.