Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Taken from CNN Five ways to avoid a C section

updated 6:16 p.m. EDT, Thu August 23, 2007
Five ways to avoid a C-section

C-sections rose by more than 40 percent between 1996 and 2004
Many experts think as many as half of all C-sections are unnecessary
Inducing labor increases chances of a Caesarean section delivery
Laboring at home as until 3 centimeters dilated also reduces risk of C-section
Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Medical News correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- When Barbara Stratton of Baltimore, Maryland, looks back at the birth of her son, Charlie, now 7, she's angry -- angry she had a surgery she believes she didn't need.

Babies delivered by C-section are at higher risk for complications, including breathing problems.

Stratton said her obstetrician induced labor a week before her due date because she feared the baby would be too large to deliver if they waited for Stratton to go into labor spontaneously. But even after being induced, her labor still didn't progress, and Stratton ended up with a Caesarean section. Her baby weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces -- far smaller than the obstetrician had predicted.
"I never needed the C-section in the first place," said Stratton.

Here's how to avoid having a C-section unless you absolutely need it -- in such medical emergencies as umbilical cord prolapse, which cuts off the baby's oxygen, or placenta previa, when the placenta blocks the cervix so that the baby can't be born naturally.
1. Don't get induced unless medically necessary
Years of study have shown that inducing labor often leads to a C-section.
Klein says studies of first-time moms show that 44 percent of those who are induced end up with a C-section but that only 8 percent of those who go into labor spontaneously end up with a C-section. Doctors say many times, inducing women way before the cervix is ready can lead to unproductive labor, which then necessitates a C-section.
2. Labor at home until you're approximately 3 centimeters dilated
Dr. Elliott Main, director of obstetric quality at Sutter Health in California, said encouraging moms to stay at home in early labor is one way his hospital has been able to keep C-section rates steady while nationally the rate keeps climbing every year.
Why would laboring at home help fend off a C-section?
Part of it has to do with the way mothers feel. "Anxiety can slow down labor," he said.
3. Choose your hospital, and your practitioner, carefully
If having a vaginal birth is important to you, shop for a doctor and a hospital with low C-section rates. "Let's say one hospital has an 18 percent C-section rate, and another one is 45 percent. Which door you walk into will have a profound effect on what happens to you," said Carol Sakala, director of programs at Childbirth Connection, a nonprofit group. You can find out the rates by checking with the doctor's office and the hospital.
4. In the delivery room, ask questions if your practitioner says you need a C-section
Some situations are true emergencies, and a C-section is necessary within minutes to save the baby's life. "That's not a time to negotiate," said Dr. Timothy R.B. Johnson, chair of obstetrics at the University of Michigan. But in other situations, parents should ask questions about whether a C-section is absolutely necessary, he says. For example, if a doctor says the baby is too big to deliver vaginally, "There's a conversation to be had. You can ask, 'Doctor, are you sure the baby's too big? How big?'" Johnson said. "Our ability to guess size is not absolute. I've had babies I thought were 11 pounds that turned out to be 7 pounds. Doctors get humbled on a regular basis."
5. Get a doula
After her own disappointing birth experience, Barbara Stratton became a doula. Doulas, or birth assistants, can help advocate for a mother when she's in labor. E-mail to a friend
Elizabeth Cohen is a correspondent with CNN Medical
This article has been edited and highlighted.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It is amazing what love and attention will do!


All Creatures Great and Small
Matthew Baker
Brigham Young also taught the principle of respect for life. In the first discourse he gave after the Tabernacle was completed, President Young taught of the blessings that come from kind treatment of animals. “The more kind we are to our animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation vanish away” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997, 333).
Gospel Library > Magazines > New Era > October 2000

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We allow animals to do this birth thing better than us!

I was going to condense this for faster reading... but I could not cut anything out, it is all enlightening!
Animal vs. Human Birth
The protocols in the world of animal husbandry to protect an offspring at the time of birth—no strangers, dimmed lights, freedom of movement, familiar environment, unlimited nourishment, respectful quiet, no disruptions—are done without hesitation because to do otherwise invites "unexplained distress" or sudden demise of the offspring. These thoughtful conditions are the norm, along with careful observation to determine when to use the technological expertise in true emergencies. When we have veterinarians in our childbirth education classes, they always start to smile and nod when I tell this story. These are givens—instinctive givens, even, for animals of all descriptions!
Yet what are the "givens" for the human who births not in a barn, but in a "modern and advanced" hospital? In many cases, 100% the opposite! Usually a minimum of a dozen strangers pass through the world of the laboring mother in her first 12 hours in the hospital—security officer, patient transporter, triage secretary, admission clerk, triage nurse, resident and/or doctor on call, admitting nurse, first shift nurse, break nurse, additional nurse at delivery, doctor or midwife plus possibly students, anesthesiologist, pediatrician, etc. Bright lights in the triage and labor rooms are challenging to dim. Mothers are tethered to monitors or IV poles and are moved through a bright hall with unfamiliar sounds to a new room in a building devoted to illness/trauma that most have visited once briefly if at all. They receive poor quality "clear liquids only." They are exposed to voices of others in the hall or chatting by the attendants during contractions and endless disruptions throughout! But then, do we ever find that we have an offspring experience "unexplained distress?" Of course, and at frightening rates! Yet, oddly, many of these disruptions are promoted as minor inconveniences or necessary to "protect" the baby.
Curiously, while veterinarians commonly have to defend interventions in light of the additional cost and the risks associated with interfering with nature, providers caring for human mothers within the medical system more commonly are forced to defend why they did NOT intervene! Consider the high rates of inductions, epidurals, artificial rupture of membranes, immediate cord cutting, cesareans and the vigorous defense necessary to fight for anything different, especially if time is involved (time to go into labor, to progress, to push, to allow the cord to stop pulsation or to get "done" bonding). I've recently seen outstanding CNMs and obstetricians sacrifice their own political reputations and suffer departmental reprimands for births with great outcomes where they protected the mothers' yearning for privacy, allowed extended pushing time with great vital signs or, during a healthy normal birth, followed their intuition and honored the mother's begging to check heart tones frequently by hand during pushing instead of what the mother considered the massive intrusion of wearing the monitor belt. Interventions are considered to be the ultimate protection from litigation in human care, yet they contribute mightily to the high rates of distress in mothers and babies!
In animal husbandry, the first line of defense for protecting the unborn is to protect and nurture the nutritional needs and comfort of the birthing female. In the case of institutionalized birth for humans, however, in spite of evidence to the contrary, the norm is to act as if the nutritional needs and the comfort of the birthing mothers are of concern to, at most, the marketing and public relations department! It's an affront to common sense that as a society we are currently more accepting of the needs of foaling mares, whelping poodles and high-producing cows than of our birthing humans. From the high rates of fetal distress, meconium staining and breastfeeding problems, the consequences are clearly devastating to our infants, just as any decent horseman would predict.
— Beth BarbeauExcerpted from "Safer Birth in a Barn?," Midwifery Today, Issue 83