Posts Tagged "birth options"

Preparing The Nest – getting ready for your homebirth

Posted on Nov 12, 2009 in Birthing, Childbirth Options | 0 comments

Preparing The Nest – getting ready for your homebirth

Having a home birth can be an amazingly empowering and rewarding experience, not just for mom but for the whole family. In a world dependent on technology, enamored with science, it is indeed a rare accomplishment to birth a baby at home far from epidurals and laughing gas. There is also something magical about going through the birth experience in the place you live day to day, in your own private space where you feel safe and comfortable. Imagine how lovely it is, a year or two later, to look up from where you are sitting and think “wow, this is where we were when this sweet child joined us for the first time!” A home birth is not particularly more complicated than a hospital birth. In fact, in many ways, it can be much simpler. No forms to fill out, no nurses coming and going, no shift changes, no electronic fetal monitoring—just you, your team and your space. However, you will need to cover a few basics: Mindset Try not to fixate on the idea of being at home. Prepare for the possibility of needing or wanting to transfer to the hospital not because you doubt the process but because there is always an element of unpredictability with birth. In the event of a transfer, you will need to remain focused on your birth and your baby rather than being disappointed about ending up at the hospital. Telling everyone in the weeks beforehand that we were “planning a home birth” rather than “having a home birth” helped me to mentally leave the door open for the possibility of a change of venue. Cleaning Several weeks before your due date give the place a serious clean. Afterwards you will only need to maintain with spot cleaning/maintenance. No need to feel embarrassed by the state of your housekeeping when welcoming your birth team. Supplies Your midwife will give you a list of supplies that you will need to have on hand for your birth. Every midwife tends to have a slightly different list but the basics are all the same. Some items can be found around the house; others will need to be picked up specifically for your birth. If you order your supplies online, keep them in the shipping box in a place that is relatively handy. Add a good pile of old clean sheets, towels and wash cloths. Choose linens that you don’t mind staining. You can also put everything in a laundry basket for easily carting to a different room when labour starts or if you are compelled to move around. Remember to pack your hospital bag and keep it by the door in case you end up transferring to the hospital. Food Shop beforehand for snacks for yourself and your birth team. Good ideas are fruit, popsicles, juice, miso soup, crackers. You can also make up a batch of Labourade or drink Emergen-C. If your labour is long you may get hungry and you definitely need to stay hydrated. Stock your freezer with healthy heat-and-eat meals to make those first weeks with a newborn a little easier. You can use up some of that late third trimester nesting energy making your own or enlist your family and friends to each donate a meal for your freezer when they ask, “What do you need?” Siblings You can choose the level of involvement for older children: whether they go to friend’s house, stay in the next room or wander in and out at will. Try to bear in mind the individual personalities of your little ones as you make this decision. You can prepare them for what to expect with classes, books or even colouring. Talking with kids ahead of time about what will happen during labour and birth will help them take it all in stride. If you plan on having your older children present, it is a good idea to have an adult there whose main role is to attend to them. Pets Dogs especially can find the commotion of birth slightly upsetting. Try to have...

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My birth stories

Posted on Oct 27, 2009 in Birth Stories, Birthing | 0 comments

My birth stories

I believe that a lot of good can come from people who find the positive in their birth experience and share it with, well, anyone who will listen. This is an age where between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 births occur by cesarean. Most women never experience birth before they find themselves in labour. Our society has very little practical experience with normal birth and we are afraid. But there is a rising tide of people who know that birth needn’t be treated like a disease or a medical emergency waiting to happen. There is a growing movement that is shouting and stomping feet and demanding maternity care reform. Change is coming and I sincerely believe that the day will come when we have the best of both worlds: the safety of modern medicine and the sanctity of trust in our bodies and the birth process. That change starts every time someone tells a positive birth story that empowers women to learn more and fear less. I was born at home in the Yukon in the 1970’s. I am so thankful to my parents for this gift: opening my eyes to the beauty of home both that very first time, and again when I birthed my son into my home as an adult. I am grateful for my mother’s dutch doctor who, at my older brother’s birth, showed her that maternity care didn’t have to look like the standard North American medical model, a man who brought new ideas to a prairie town on a new continent and changed the course of birth in my family. Both of my children were born at home with midwives in attendance. Neither birth went exactly as I’d hoped it would. My first resulted in a hospital transfer for retained placenta. My second caught us unprepared three weeks early and ended up being a neighbourhood event. I had envisioned quiet and intimate, not neighbours in the kitchen eating pizza. But when a 10 year old boy who had just seen my hour old daughter exclaimed “This is the best birthday party I’ve ever been to!” I saw the power of sharing positive experiences with everyone around us. Maybe when this boy becomes a father he will remember, just as I remember my mother’s dutch...

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Open Letter to BC Homebirth Study Critics

Posted on Sep 3, 2009 in Birthing, Childbirth Options, Maternity Care Options | 3 comments

Open Letter to BC Homebirth Study Critics

Dear Uniformed Commenter After reading the newest study on the safety of homebirth, I sat back to read some reactions from the press and the public. I had a look at the CTV coverage and the CBC coverage and I read over the comments in reply to each story. Imagine my dismay when I read some of your reactions! I was rather glad that the comments were closed because I was too upset to post anything coherent or cool-headed. Frustrated, I can not stop thinking about your replies. First, I shake my head as it appears that you’ve neither read the study nor understood the very article you’ve responded to. You seem to have missed the point entirely. Your arguments fall into one of several categories: 1. The Personal Anecdote Rebuttal This is some variation of “I can only imagine how horrible our child’s birth would have turned out if we had tried to have a home birth” and then launching into your personal story where everything was touch-and-go but thankfully the medical staff at the hospital saved your baby. First of all, this is not a logical rebuttal to a scientific study. This is an emotional reaction known as a pathetic appeal. You are rejecting “a claim based on how it makes you feel without fully analyzing the rationale behind the claim”. You are appealing to people’s very real emotions about the health and safety of a tiny baby at the expense of being able to actually hear what the study’s authors are trying to tell you. While it is totally understandable that this is an emotionally sensitive topic for many, the problem is that you are overemphasizing the emotional component at the expense of the message (the logical component) – this is a flawed argument. Effective, yes – ad campaigns do it all the time, but flawed nonetheless. Secondly, while my heart goes out to you that you had a difficult and scary time at the birth of your baby and while I’m glad that modern medicine was able to save your baby, we can’t actually compare your situation with that of the study subjects. We have no way of knowing with the few details you’ve given if your particular circumstances would have made you an eligible sample for the hospital group. Perhaps you had complications or a high-risk pregnancy that would have excluded you from the study. Therefore, sadly, your situation is not a relevant point of comparison for a study that was looking at births fitting very specific criteria. If that is the case, even the study’s authors, home birth advocates, the BC College of Midwives etc. would all agree with you: your child’s birth should not have occurred at home because it did not meet the criteria to have a home birth safely. 2. The What If Question This argument boils down to “Yes, homebirth is fine as long as nothing goes wrong. But why chance it?” You have missed the point completely; the study concluded that home birth is as safe as hospital birth because in all the cases studied, virtually nothing did go wrong. The perinatal death rate was the same as for both hospital groups (in fact, it was marginally lower in the homebirth group). This what-if-something-goes-wrong argument was essentially what the study was trying to find out – how often does something go wrong at home? And the conclusion was, provided certain guidelines are followed: no more often than something goes wrong in the hospital. 3. The Get With The Times Blow Off This argument is the most uninformed of the bunch. You demonstrate your complete lack of understanding of maternity care and midwifery with variations of “Midwives are old hippies with no training and would be useless in an emergency” or “Stop being so full of yourself and your need to prove something – modern medicine is here for a reason, use it.” This brand of reaction is intended to silence anyone supportive of homebirth by insulting and denigrating but it only demonstrates your own ignorance. Midwives, in BC...

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Birth Plan Basics

Posted on Aug 23, 2009 in Birthing, Childbirth Options, Featured | 3 comments

Birth Plan Basics

Once unheard of, it is now routine to hear “this is a copy of my birth plan” as a woman is admitted to L&D. There is a lot of info (and opinions) out there about birth plans. This post is intended as a primer to get you pointed in the right direction. Often explained as a document outlining how you wish your childbirth experience to go, the birth plan is much more: The birth plan is way to prepare for your birth: properly prepared, it will require discussion with your care providers and likely personal research and reading. It will allow you to seriously consider how you feel about medications, interventions, procedures, and yes, emergency situations should they arise. It will give you an opportunity to talk with your partner about his/her hopes and fears and to communicate about what is important to you both. The birth plan is a communication tool: hopefully it will clearly and succinctly spell out your wishes and expectations not just for your childbirth experience, but for the safety of your baby and yourself. It can function as a reminder to your care provider of things you may have talked about weeks before. The birth plan can have the power to speak for you despite staff shift changes, whether or not you have an advocate there for you (partner, family, friend or doula) and whether or not you are in a condition to speak for yourself. The birth plan is not a frivolous wish list: it is a simple one page statement outlining what you are ok with and what you are not ok with. Birth plan detractors seem to feel that a birth plan reflects a selfish mom’s over-attachment to her own experience. However, we all have the right to informed consent when it comes to medical procedures and your birth plan should focus on this aspect rather than getting caught up in small details like whether or not you want to have your ipod in the room. The birth plan unfortunately is not a legal document: there will be hospitals and staff members and births where the birth plan does not get followed. Make sure to go over it with your care provider ahead of time. Is your care provider comfortable with the plan? Find out if the points you’ve made are even possible at the place where you are delivering – does hospital protocol even allow everything you’ve outlined? Bring multiple copies with you to give out. Be prepared for shift changes. Remember that circumstances might arise that you didn’t consider ahead of time and some parts of the plan might not get adhered to. The birth plan is not a road map: no one can really plan out their birth. Birth is almost always surprising in some way. It is hard not to get caught up in your vision of the ideal birth but birth is unpredictable. Remember to account for things you hope will not happen. The birth plan should not become a way to cling to control. Carefully consider the points on your birth plan and thoughtfully write it out. And then, hand it to your partner and let go of the plan so you can embrace the unknowable aspect of birth. Resources Here are a couple of good online birth plans to check out. You can fill them out online to print and take with you, or just use them as a sample or starting point to write your own. Pregnancy Channel Childbirth.org Earth Mama Angel Baby And finally, a couple of great books to get you started on your research: Creating Your Birth Plan – The Definitive Guide to a Safe & Empowering Birth Marsden Wagner, M.D., M.S. Creating Your Birth Plan helps expectant mothers make informed decisions about the assistance they’ll require for childbirth. Designed to encourage collaboration between pregnant women and their caregivers, it includes information on: What to expect when delivering in a hospital, in a birthing center, or at home How to select an advocate to ensure expectant mothers’ wishes are honored...

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Water During Labour & Birth

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 in Birthing, Childbirth Options | 0 comments

Water During Labour & Birth

Options for labour and birth have expanded over recent years. You can choose between different health care providers and different birth places. You can choose an active birth, a Leboyer birth and now you can choose a waterbirth. The use of water has become increasingly popular as a way of avoiding a high tech birth both in hospital and at home. While the use of water during labour is common place, giving birth to a baby under water is more controversial. A woman can use water during labour and birth in a number of ways. These include: A shower Hot towels Submerging in a bath Submerging into a deep pool of water Some women feel very comfortable in the water during labour and decide to stay in the water to give birth. Giving birth under water raises many questions – How safe is it? Does research support waterbirth? Does water provide effective pain relief? What precautions should be used if a woman labours and/or gives birth in water? Water, as with many issues during pregnancy and birth, is not very well researched. There needs to be a lot more research before we can accurately answer these and other questions. Some evidence however, is slowly gathering from around the world on the use of water during labour and birth. In the future we will know a lot more. Waterbirth concerns many people. One common fear is that the baby will drown if born into water. The baby born into water has a diving reflex that helps prevents the inhalation of water into its lungs. Once the baby is exposed to air the receptors in the baby’s face trigger the baby’s breathing. Because of these factors, once the baby is born into water it should be brought gently to the surface and the baby’s face must not be resubmerged under the water. To make sure that the baby does not get cold after the birth – the baby’s body can stay under the water and the baby’s head can be dried with a warm towel. If the baby is well he/she can stay with the mother in the water. Whether or not to permit the placenta to be born in the water is another controversial issue. There are some theoretical risks to remaining in the water, however none have ever been proven. Some health care practitioner encourage women to leave the water for the third stage of labour while others are happy for women to remain in the water. If bleeding after the birth seems excessive the woman would be asked to leave the water. I have heard that using water during labour is helpful, can you explain the reasons why? Using water during labour and birth encourages: Reduction in pain Greater mobility that comes with buoyancy Induces relaxation Reduction in abdominal pressure Softening effect on the perineum and vulva can promote stretching during crowing Gentle entrance into the world for the baby One of the most common finding of research is that many women find that being submerged in water enables them to relax and they find the pain of labour lessens. In one study, where women used water during labour only, they found that 80% of the women reported that they would like to use water next time they were in labour. I like the idea of using water during my labour. I would like to know if it is safe for my baby to be born underwater? Until more research is completed, we cannot say with any accuracy whether there are any risks associated with the use of water during labour and birth. The limited evidence that is available so far indicates that waterbirth is thought to be safe so long as some simple, sensible guidelines are followed. These guidelines include: A skilled practitioner in waterbirth is available The pool or bath has been thoroughly cleaned and rinsed A normal labour and birth is expected. The use of water is not appropriate if a woman has a fever, there is meconium in the waters, the baby’s heart rate...

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