Archive | June 2017

Tips for being induced.

Let’s talk about induction of labor. It’s fairly common in the US to get to 39 weeks and be induced a week before your due date. Most care providers won’t or can’t induce before this point unless there is a medical need for baby to be born sooner rather than later.

So let’s explore how we can help this situation.

Things to consider: Do I really need to be induced? Babies tell mom’s body that they are ready to be born. So by having an induction without a medical need you could be risking a baby who isn’t ready to breathe air just yet.

What is the medical need? Lots of different situations may cause you to need to be induced. Pre-eclampsia is no joke and most providers take it seriously to help keep mom and baby safe. Maybe the care provider thinks baby is getting too big. But based on evidence and ACOG recommendations (read about them here,  here,  and here. )this is not a reason to induce because ultrasounds are very often wrong on estimated weights and often leads to unnecessary cesareans. Even going past your estimated due date is not a recommended reason to induce until you’ve gone to 41-42 weeks.

Maybe you’ve weighed the risks and benefits and still want (or need) to be induced. Let’s help you have an easier and better birth with some tips!

  • Know your cervix so you can know your options.

Ask what your bishop score is at your last prenatal appointment.  (You can calculate your score here.) This can help you talk through your options with your provider. There are a lot. Cervix ripeners – like Cervidil and Prepidil. Manual options – like a membrane sweep or a Foley balloon ( the foley is a GREAT option for all moms, including vbacs). There’s Pitocin of course to stimulation contractions and there is AROM – artificial rupture of membranes (breaking your water).

  • Have a birth plan.

Even though it may look a different, having a birth plan is still a great way to help the hospital staff know your needs/wants without you always having to tell them. There very well may come a point in labor that you cannot speak your wishes to them. So having it wrote down is perfect.

  • Stay active and upright.

There is no reason to stay in the bed, even if your water is broken. Let gravity help you. Being up and walking/dancing/squatting is great at utilizing gravity. Using a birth ball or CUB also does this, while supporting you if you start to get tired. Even sitting straight up in bed is using gravity to help your body do it’s thing!

  • Be prepared for the long haul.

Depending on your body, bishop score and chosen induction method – you may be looking at 2 or 3 days of an induction. Low and slow is not a bad thing when you are trying to jump start labor. Your body needs time to get the message. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t make progress right away.

  • Stay hydrated and fueled.

Most hospitals still say no eating during labor, but some are coming around to the American Society of Anesthesiologist recommendations of eating lightly during labor to keep energy up. (read that article here ) Don’t try to eat any steak and potato dinner during labor though, it likely would come back up later.

  • Listen to your body.

Even though you are telling your body to do something before it might be ready, it will get the memo and start to do what it needs to do. Listen to your body and follow it’s lead. If you feel like you need to get up and move, then do it. If you feel like you need to lay down with a peanut ball between your legs, do it. If you feel like you need to sway your hips, sway those hips! This is how your body lets you know what needs to be done to help baby be born. Giving birth is instinctual, all you have to do is listen to your body.

  • Ask questions.

Does your care provider have a preference on how long they will attempt induction before calling it quits? What if pitocin doesn’t work and you aren’t in active labor, will they stop and let you rest for a while or even go home before trying again? At what points will the doctor recommend a cesarean birth for non-emergent reasons? When you know the answers to these questions and any others you might have, it helps you to be in control and make informed choices for your child’s birth. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

  • Have a pain relief plan.

An induction is often more intense than natural labor, simply because it is being forced. Preparing for labor pains before they start is an excellent idea. Consider types of pain relief you want to utilize. Physical comfort measures, hydrotherapy, IV narcotics, epidural? Take a childbirth education class and if available, a comfort measures class to help you and your partner learn ways to help alleviate pain and discomfort during labor.

  • Have support.

This one is pretty self explanatory. Make sure to have a birth team of those you choose that will be the most helpful and supportive during labor. Everyone that is at your birth is an intervention, so you want them to be helpful. Your uncle sitting across the room playing on his phone means well, but he isn’t helping and actually could hinder your progress by making your feel watched or embarrassed to make noise or move around like you should. Don’t feel bad to say that only a select few are going to be with you during labor(or if you want everyone, that is ok too!) Consider having a doula there to support you during labor as well, we have lots of tips and tricks to help your body get into the rhythm of labor and reduce your risk of more interventions and cesareans too.

  • Finally, be excited!

Your baby is coming soon!

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What to pack in your hospital birth bag.

It’s a question that will continue to be asked as long as women are giving birth outside of their homes. “What should I pack in my hospital bag?”

So we decided to put together a list of things and why you might want to bring them. The hospitals usually provide a lot of things, like pads/mesh panties, diapers, wipes and more. So will focus on things that are beneficial and maybe something you haven’t thought about packing in your bag.

  • An extra pillow (or two!) – There’s nothing wrong with the pillows provided at the hospitals or birth centers, except that they are limited. So you may not be able to get an extra one if you need it. Best to bring one or two from home. These are also a good idea if you have a cesarean, something to hold against you as you get up and down after surgery.
  • Your favorite blanket/robe – Having something familiar and comfortable to make your room feel more homey. Anything that helps you relax and feel more comfortable in the hospital environment is helpful for not only labor, but for your morale.
  • Copies of your birth plan – 2-3 copies is ideal. Your nurse will need one, the baby nurse will need one, and an extra for whoever may need it.
  • Extra towel or two. – The hospitals usually have plenty of towels, but they aren’t very big, kind of like a glorified hand towel and if you plan to use the tub/shower during (and after) labor then you can expect to need about 3 or 4 of those just to dry off. Bringing one or two large towels from home will save you some time & energy.
  • Snacks – often you are told that you cannot eat during labor, but new recommendations from anesthesiologists say that a light meal or snacking during labor is beneficial. Keeps your energy up so you can stay strong while you labor.
  • Electronics & chargers – this one is a no brainer, but if you bring a phone/tablet/laptop always make sure to grab that charger! Make sure to have some of your favorite calming music saved on there somewhere too!
  • Toiletries – obviously they have some of this at the hospital, but most women prefer to use their own shampoo/conditions and body wash. Travel size bottles of your favorites are perfect for the hospital bag. Don’t forget the lip balm, hair ties and toothpaste.
  • Depends – you may thing why depends!? They are PERFECT for postpartum bleeding. If you had a catheter placed, you could have trouble urinating after it’s removal too. These are a bit easier than the mesh panties and pads, provide more coverage and great at not leaking.
  • Anything that gives you comfort – this could be a picture, a special scarf, lotion or essential oils, slippers to walk around in. If you think it might help keep you relaxed and comfortable during labor, bring it!
  • Nursing pads – you may or may not start leaking right away while at the hospital, but it’s best to bring a few pairs of disposable or washable pads if you plan to wear a bra or shirt while at the hospital. (Personally, so much skin to skin time and nursing happens that you may not wear a bra while there)
  • Nipple butter – most hospitals have samples of lanolin for moms, but you need to make sure to wipe it off before each feeding; which can get tiresome. A good all-natural nipple butter can make life a little easier since it doesn’t need to be washed off before nursing baby.
  • One dollar bills and change – you might find yourself needing cheetos from the vending machine at 2 a.m.
  • Birth Props – if you have a specific tool you plan to use during labor, don’t just assume the hospital will have it available (or they have it but it’s in use by another mom), so bring your own birth ball/peanut ball/birth pool. If you think your birth place has these available just leave it in the car and if you need it, send someone out for it.

For Baby

  • Cloth diapers – if you don’t plan to use disposables then make sure to bring about 4-5 cloth diapers in baby’s bag. Hospitals provide wipes as well, unless you have a preferred brand you want to use.
  • 3 sizes of clothes – Preferably just one going home outfit in each size : Preemie, newborn and 0-3 months. While you’re in the hospital baby will likely be wrapped up or skin to skin with mom, so a going home outfit is sufficient. Because ultrasounds can be way off on the guess weight of babies, we suggest bringing the multiple sizes so no one has to run out from the hospital for something to put on baby.
  • Pacifier – if you plan to use one, you might consider bringing your own paci (or two). Babies often need to try a few different pacifiers to find the one they prefer. (Ask us about getting a free Dr. Brown’s pacifier)
  • Favorite swaddling blanket – pretty self explanatory, but we suggest bringing a back up as well in case of a poo-splosion.

And of course don’t forget your doula! We not only do birth support but over night postpartum support in the hospital is available as well. Check out our service list for details.

Happy Birthing!