Natural Childbirth

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Newborn Baby Eye Drops Explained 42

newborn baby eye dropsAuthor: Tom Sample Shortly after your baby is born, the nurse will probably take your baby to a warming table where they clean up your baby a little bit, weigh and measure him, and bring him back to you. When he comes back though you will probably notice that his eyes look wet or greasy. This is the result of him being given newborn baby eye drops. Sometimes it's more like a cream that the nurse rubs on the eye. This is rarely talked about, and most people don't even know why their child is given eye drops at birth. Eye drops at birth are given for the main purpose of helping to prevent any possible infection in your baby's eyes from their trip down the birth canal during labor. Eye infections used to be a major cause of blindness in children, and were often due to the same bacteria that cause gonorrhea or chlamydia in women. When a woman is infected with these bacteria (about 20 percent of women with gonorrhea and 70 percent of women with chlamydia don't have identifiable symptoms), they're present in her vagina. As a baby travels through the birth canal, s/he can pick up bacteria present in the mother's vaginal secretions or fluids. The eye drops are just a precaution. It is a practice that is accepted and done in much of the world, and is even a law in many states. The most common antibiotic given today is erythromycin, however some places still administer silver nitrate which is the first antibiotic that was given starting back in the late 1800's. Silver Nitrate, however, has been found to irritate the baby's eyes, and cause much discomfort. You might want to talk to your doctor about which drug they administer. The hospital should have both on hand. Just state your preferences. Some women will question why their baby was given eye drops after a c-section delivery. Because the possible infection only occurs during the trip down the birth canal, it would seem that it is unnecessary in a c-section. The opinions on this vary. Some people believe that if a woman's water was broken before delivery either naturally or by the doctor, that there is a chance that the baby could still have made contact with any infection that might be present. Also, when given vaginal exams, had internal monitors, etc that infection might have reached the baby. If your doctor or nurse believes this is possible, they might give your baby eye drops after your cesarean delivery. Other times it is routinely done by the hospital as part of the newborn care, whether you have a c-section or vaginal delivery, much like the Hepatitis B shot and hearing tests are routinely done in most hospitals today. If you have any concerns over your baby receiving eye drops, or any other of the routine baby care methods, you should be sure to talk to your doctor or midwife prior to your delivery, as well as put your instructions and concerns in your birth plan so that everyone is aware of your wishes on the day of delivery. Some states have laws stating that the eye drops are mandatory. The drawback of the eye drops is that it makes the baby's vision blurry for a little while. If the baby is given the drops right after birth, it can impede on the bonding process with the mother and father. This is something that you may wish to be delayed until after that first hour of life. Most states have laws that say it is up to the practitioner to provide the eye drops, with no specific time indicated. Oftentimes it is not medically necessary to apply the eye drops within the first hour after birth. Sheryl's comment: This is just one more example of why women are choosing unassisted childbirth and homebirth. If you are 100% certain that you do not have gonorrhea or chlamydia, then there is no reason the world that your newborn should receive painful/irritating eye drops as a "welcome to earth". It is part of the overall "psychology of birth" in which the mother is considered "dirty" and the product (baby) of that "unclean mother" must be removed and sterilized immediately or it is in grave danger of catching her dirty ways. I have heard stories of women arguing with their doctors about their sexual habits to try to protect their newborn. "Wow doctor! Thank you very much for implying that I am cheating on my husband - or that he is cheating on me".  The reality is that people do cheat and the laws are in place to protect those newborns from a mother who is in fact infected whether or not she knows or admits it. Nobody wants a blind baby. You can get tested for gonorrhea or chlamydia while pregnant and then have a peaceful homebirth free of eye drops. Know your rights and refuse the drops if you know you do not have an STD and are birthing in a hospital or birthing center. Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/64939463@N00/377834503/

Emergency Childbirth: You Need To Know What To Do 10

Author: Anne Childs When it comes to childbirth, most women are able to make it to the emergency room or their prearranged birthing centers; however not all are. While there is a good chance that you will make it to your intended destination before your baby arrives, what would you do if you couldn't make it? Unfortunately, a large number of expectant parents have no idea. That is why it is important that you take the time to familiarize yourself with emergency childbirth, just in case. Perhaps, the best way to familiarize yourself with emergency births is by speaking to your pregnancy care physician, whether that professional be your primary care physician, an OBGYN or a certified nurse midwife. There is a good chance that your pregnancy care provider will briefly touch on the subject of an unexpected birth, but it is important that you know as much as you can about the situation, including what you can and cannot do. For that reason, you may want to make a list of questions that you should ask him or her. One of the most important questions that you need to ask your pregnancy care provider is where you should or shouldn't have your baby. Depending on the situation, you may not have a choice, but you might just have one. For instance, if you are going into labor at your home, you may want to know where the best delivery location would be. From a medical standpoint, you will want an area of your home that is safe and clean, but also one that will be comfortable. Your OBGYN, primary care physician, or certified nurse midwife should be able to give you the most accurate answer.* During emergency childbirths, it is recommended that the births occur on clean surfaces, at least a surface that is clean as it could possibly be. Although you might not have enough time to make it to the hospital, there may be enough time to sanitize the area in which you plan on giving birth. The only problem with sanitizing your birthing area is that not all cleaning products are safe for you and your child. That is why it is advised that you seek professional assistance. If cleaning supplies need to be used, it is important that you know which ones are safe and which ones are not. Cleaning supplies are not the only items or supplies that you need to be concerned about. As beautiful as childbirth is, it can also be messy. That is why it is often recommended that you wear protective clothing, such as gloves, and have a number of towels or blankets on hand. You should ask your pregnancy care provider what items, as well as how many, you should have on hand. In fact, your healthcare provider should be able to provide you with an emergency birthing checklist or you could easily make your own. Although it is best to get your information directly from your own pregnancy care provider, you can also familiarize yourself with emergency childbirth by using the internet or by buying a pregnancy book from one of your local retail stores. These books and online resources may not provide you with as detailed or as personalized information, but they can do in a pinch. If at any point you find that you have unanswered questions or need further assistance, you are advised to seek assistance from a professional healthcare provider. Whether you learn about emergency childbirth through your physician, the internet or a printed resource guide, you are advised to follow all of the information and directions given to you. It may also be a good idea to take additional precautions. For instance, it will likely be recommended that you have the above mentioned supplies on hand; however, you may want to take it a step further. It may be a good idea to keep the materials needed for an emergency childbirth in number of different locations, such as your car or your workplace. Despite the fact that your labor and delivery may go exactly as planned, there are no guarantees. By asking the above mentioned questions, you should be prepared for anything that happens, whether it be expected or not. The information you will learn may come in handy; however, it is important that you share it with those that you will be around. Since you will be occupied, you will need to rely on assistance from those around you, whether they are medical professionals or not. About the author: Anne Childs is a contributor to Healthline who has also conducted many seminars focusing on childbirth and other issues related to women's health. Sheryl's comment: A. Childbirth is not an emergency for the mother or baby. If your baby is ready to come out, it is exciting and thrilling! B. Childbirth outside of a hospital is only an emergency for the OB-GYN's car payment C. You should be familiar with how birth works no matter who (if anyone) is attending the birth. D. You can give birth in any room in your home including your bathroom. If it is clean enough for you and your newborn to live in or to conceive the baby in, then it is clean enough to give birth in. E. You will be catching your baby so the surface that you are kneeling or squatting on is somewhat irrelevant. Clearly you are not going to give birth in your cats litter box or in a obviously unsanitary location. We are talking about western civilization here people, not the third world. Think "reasonably clean" or "company is stopping by clean" F. Lay down a shower curtain or some old towels. Childbirth without incisions and episiotomies is a lot less bloody. There will be amniotic fluid however, so be prepared for that. Some women give birth in the bathtub, over the toilet or on a tiled floor for easy cleanup. If you are at home, fill the tub, climb in and get ready to meet the new love of your life. Location is really not that big of a deal. G. Don't welcome your baby into the world with latex gloves. That is insane. You will be holding your baby for years in your bare hands. Why is this crucial moment any different? H. Try a lotus birth and you wont have to worry about cutting the cord. If you do want to cut the cord (PLEASE only cut if after it is done pulsing) then cut it with a clean/sterile scissors. You might want to have a large bowl on hand to place the placenta if you do not do a lotus birth. If you were in fact planning a hospital/birthing center birth, then the doctor or midwife will want to examine the placenta to make sure it is intact. (Otherwise how can they get paid?) Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/ouij/50115629/

Planning a Homebirth 0

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="390"]Planning a homebirth Waterbirth at home[/caption] Author: Nicky Pilkington Once upon a time, women's only childbirth option was to give birth at home. As medicine evolved, doctors' offices and hospitals became the norm for labor and delivery which created an entire industry but not necessarily to the benefit of women and children. Rural communities remained isolated from modern facilities and midwives took their place by the mother-to-be side at the time to give birth arrived. Today, midwives are professional health care providers, qualified and accredited by medical boards. This is the result of an increasingly common trend: giving birth at home. Whatever the reason, many women prefer to stay at home often attended by a midwife. There is no place like home, and that saying takes the right place when pregnancy comes to end. Planning a homebirth will reduce the tension of labor, thus facilitating delivery if you are a pregnant woman in good health and without previous miscarriages or pregnancy complications. Hospitals are committed to bringing you the ultimate technology experience, and their services are useful if your gynecologist has determined that you will need medical assistance during the childbirth process, but the cold atmosphere of a hospital room can never be compared with your bedroom. Any expectant mother has the right to decide where she wants to give birth and if you are generally healthy and have had an uneventful pregnancy with no special conditions, then there is no reason in the world that you could not choose to birth in the privacy of your own home. The first step is to choose your birth attendant. Although not set in stone, you will often find that a lay midwife will assist you in your home while a CNM (certified nurse midwife) will work in a hospital setting along side of an obstetrician. Please do not be fooled by a CNM (or 'medwife') and try to have a "natural birth" in a hospital setting. It does not happen and they will frequently do unnecessary and dangerous interventions to you and your baby to "speed things along". If you want a natural birth, you have to deliver at home, period. Take some time to check the attendant background and qualifications, then schedule an interview and ask all what you need to know, including number of births attended and the names of a few persons you can talk with for references. It is vital that you question the time they allow you to labor (if they will do potentially dangerous and unnecessary things like give you pitocin, episiotomies or yank on the umbilical cord to "speed things up"). Most lay midwives have the brains to avoid cutting the cord until it is done pulsing. This is one of the best reasons to have a home birth. One of the most important preparations you can make for a successful home birth is to consider any eventual complication. Make sure that the person who will attend you is familiar to emergency procedures and has the appropriate equipment in case of postpartum hemorrhage, the need to resuscitate a newborn, or any other unexpected medical event. If you are planning an unassisted homebirth you should know infant CPR yourself and have transportation to the hospital lined up should you start bleeding or have some other complication. Your midwife may also have oxygen and masks on hand as well as some other basic birthing supplies. Lastly, remember to check your insurance coverage, because many plans will not cover home birthing. If everything goes okay, you can give birth in your own home, that of your parents, your best friend, or in a home close to a hospital or the physician who keeps your medical history records. About the author: For more information about home birthing and childbirth information you can check out childbirth.me.uk Buy the Book: The Homebirth Advantage [affiliate link] Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/myjuly/537376204/

Birthing Around the World 7

birthing around the worldSince ancestral times, birthing around the world was showed off in different customs based on varying beliefs around the miracle of life that birthing means. Birth has been also associated to fertility of the earth, and is the symbol of construction that rules the universe. In Egypt, mortality of both babies and pregnant women were regarded so high that a plea for divine intervention became a rite on the day of childbirth. Hator, Aset and Tawaret were invoked to protect the life and discover the destiny of a newborn. The Roman obstetrician Soranus (98-138 AD), wrote a book used until the 16th century describing childbirth care and common customs to observe before and after delivery. In the Middle Ages, European women were whipped to induce labor. During the 18th century, things would change. In 1739, the first obstetric wards in Great Britain were opened, and shortly after the Scottish obstetrician, William Smellie would publish his Treatise on Theory and Practice of Midwifery 1752. Midwives attended pregnant women and changed old customs, particularly during the next century when modern times began. In 1849, a doctor in Manchester reported three mothers and babies death after experimenting with five cases and because anesthesia was involved, a new superstitious belief was born. The turn of the century brought more studies on pregnancy, but people kept some custom even until today. In Germany, pregnant women visit a midwife before or instead of consulting an obstetrician. Doctors are considered "optional" on the birthing day. In several German cities, local government keeps a list of acceptable names for the newborns. Parents must choose a name from it, otherwise file a form compelling their reason asking for a non-listed name, a custom that is kept in an effort to protect children from potential ridicule after parents choose exotic or misspelled name. In Brazil, pregnant women are meant to have a Cesarean childbirth, because it is a delivery custom, although the government is making efforts for encouraging other childbirth methods with the hope to reduce the public expense that Cesarean surgeries cause to the state. In Turkey, there are no baby showers or special celebrations before or after the birthing day. The new mother and baby remain isolated for 20 days, after which they go from home to home visiting family and friends on an individual basis and celebrating with a special beverage. Japan is a nation with a cultural custom that dictates 21-bed days for women after giving birth, as in Mexico old time traditions make a women stay 40 days in bed, custom which only survives in a few remote rural communities today. The United States is multi-cultural nation where some of these customs are continued by immigrants, and others are resulting from the fusion of local and country home traditions. Author: Nicky Pilkington About the author: For more information about understanding childbirth and other childbirth information you can check out childbirth.me.uk Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/paopix/244067624/

How to Avoid Cesarean Delivery 5

Avoid CesareanAuthor: Kara Spencer, LMT, CD A Cesarean section is major abdominal surgery performed in order to deliver a baby from its mother, through an incision in her abdomen. Cesareans are a vital emergency surgery for mothers and babies who are at severe risk. However, C-sections are on the rise in US and around the world, and it is reaching epidemic proportions. In the 1960's, only 5% of babies were born by Cesarean, in the 1970's and 1980's the surgery increased to 25% of women delivered their babies through surgery. Now, in the US, one in three women deliver their babies via Cesarean. You are having a baby and you want to avoid a cesarean - what do you do? The best thing you can do to reduce the risk of Cesarean is to hire a midwife for your prenatal care, labor and delivery. Midwives have dramatically higher rates of successful healthy vaginal delivery than obstetricians. A new research study by Sutter Health, shows that the two factors in hospital birth that most lead to a Cesarean are active management of early labor and medical induction. You can avoid active management of early labor through hiring a doula to support you through labor. A doula can come to your home in early labor, and is familiar with signs and behaviors of the different stages of labor, and may help you to cope at home, so you don't show up at the hospital too early. Try to stay at home until you are in active labor to avoid unnecessary interventions which may lead to iatrogenic complications. Increase your awareness of the realities of medical induction. Along with Cesareans, there is an epidemic of inductions happening in the United States. The baby's due date is an estimated due date, yet there is increasingly a medical and cultural belief that babies should be born on or before the due date. In fact, only 4% of babies are born on their estimated due dates, and most first time moms go about a week over due. Also, due dates can be tricky to calculate due to variations in women's menstrual cycles and the timing of ovulation. The Lamaze Institute for Normal Birth has a position paper on inductions, which I feel is a must-read for pregnant women. At one of my local hospitals, 70% of women who are medically induced end up delivering via Cesarean section. Also, choose your place of birth carefully. Midwives have lower c-section rates than doctors. Non-profit hospitals have lower c-section rates than for-profit or teaching hospitals. In Seattle, the non-profit Group Health has a c-section rate of 16%, while the nearby profit and teaching hospitals have c-section rates of 36%! Cesarean surgery is a hugely profitable industry, and 80% of cesareans happen Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm. While surgery may be more convenient for the doctor, the increased risks are not convenient for mom and baby. Education increases your chances of a healthy informed birth. Hire a midwife, a doula, make informed choices, and trust in your body and your baby! Research and practice techniques for optimal fetal positioning, to encourage your baby to be in the best position for labor and birth. For more resources on Cesarean awareness and prevention, check out the ICAN website of the International Cesarean Awareness Network. About the author: Kara Maia Spencer envisions the birth of a peaceful humanity through midwives, doulas, gentle birth, conscious parenting, and sustainable living. She is the founder of the Birth Ecology Project and the owner of Maia Healing Arts Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/chimmy/911626776/