Midwife

Myths Dispelled About Pregnancy, Labor and Birth

When it comes to pregnancy, labor and birth there is a lot of information out there; some true and some not so true. Between books, Google, family, friends and even many providers there are a lot of myths. For healthy, low-risk women midwifery care is very appropriate as well as out of hospital birth. Statistics show that it is the safest option for low-risk women due to low interventions.

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There are 6 myths that I am going to dispel about pregnancy, labor and birth. These are the most commonly asked questions when a potential mom is inquiring about midwifery care, specifically in an out of hospital birth center. Please note that a hospital that calls their Labor and Delivery Unit a birth center is not in fact a birth center. A true birth center is out of hospital. You will find that in a hospital setting with an Obstetrician many of these topics are looked at quite differently. Midwives and birth centers go by evidence based care.

1st Baby: Many times I hear mamas say '“this is my first baby, I should give birth in a hospital.” The biggest risk factor for having a c-section is the facility you walk into. The same healthy, pregnant woman could have a very different birth experience at three different hospitals with her condition being the same.

Maternal Age: In the world of obstetrics, a woman is considered advanced maternal age after 35 years old. Her pregnancy is referred to as geriatric. As a woman ages, certain risks go up but very slightly. This is no reason to classify a woman over the age of 35 as high-risk. It is natural and normal to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby at any age.

GBS Status: At around 36 weeks of pregnancy a test is done with a swab that determines if the mom is GBS+ or GBS-. GBS stands for Group B Strep. This bacteria lives on our body naturally and many times is found in the vagina. If it is, that would classify a mom as GBS+. If you are GBS+ you can still give birth at an out of hospital birth center; it just means extra precautions are taken during labor and postpartum.

Gestational Diabetes: At 28 weeks in pregnancy a test is done to check how the mom is processing sugars. Sometimes women develop gestational diabetes which typically resolves after birth. If the blood sugar comes back from the lab to high, there needs to be changes in diet. Most times through a special diet, blood sugars can be regulated. If this is the case, the mother can give birth at an out of hospital birth center.

Pregnancy Loss: Sadly, many women suffer from pregnancy loss at some point. Most times it is early in pregnancy but sometimes it is not. Whatever your journey is with loss, we are here to support you in your next pregnancy. you can give birth at an out of hospital birth center. Some women take comfort in more monitoring which can be accommodated.

Assisted Reproduction: There are many different ways to help with infertility today. Achieving pregnancy through IVF, IVF-ET, etc. does not mean the pregnancy is high-risk. It is still perfectly acceptable to be seen by a midwife and have an out of hospital birth. Another type of assisted reproduction is insemination or IUI.

This is a brief overview about typical myths. These opinions represent Health Foundations Birth Center practice and may vary from other freestanding birth centers. I will be speaking more on this topic Sunday, September 16th at 10:00am on the MomShow, MyTalk 107.1. Tune in!

If you are interested in having your baby at a birth center, please give us a call and set up a time to come in for a free consultation.

Eight Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Interventions During Labor

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Avoiding unnecessary medical intervention is one of the most important factors in having a naturalbirth. Unfortunately, in many US hospitals, interventions are common and all too often hastily decided upon. Consequently, the rate of C-sections nationally is about 32.7 percent. The term “cascade of interventions,” refers to the domino effect of one intervention, leading to another which leads to another, resulting in a series of unplanned and undesired repercussions. If you are hoping to have a natural birth experience, knowing what you can do to reduce your chances of unnecessary interventions is important. Here are 8 ways you can increase your odds of achieving your desired natural birth experience by avoiding unnecessary birthing interventions.

  1. Create a birth plan: Creating a written copy of your birth plan will help ensure that everyone on your birthing team knows and respects your wishes and expectations for your birth experience. Although it is important to remain flexible should complications arise, a birth plan is a great way to familiarize your care providers and any participating family members or friends with specific preferences you have including avoiding unnecessary medical interventions.
  2. Use a midwife: Because of the level of specialized care, support and priority placed on natural birthing, using a midwife can increase your chances of having a natural birth by up to 95 percent. Your midwife will help prepare you physically and mentally for an unmedicated childbirth, reducing your anxiety and likely lessening the pain you will experience.
  3. Take birthing classes: Choose classes that focus on natural birth techniques to help equip you with the tools you will need to achieve an intervention free, natural birth experience.
  4. Choose a care provider and birth setting that encourage natural birth: In addition to using a midwife, choosing to birth at a birth center with a low rate of interventions versus a hospital can be a wise decision if you are hoping to have a natural birth. Hospitals often place time limitations on labor and may pressure you to opt for interventions that hasten the process if it has been drawn out too long. A birth center that is supportive of natural birth is more likely to let you labor as long as you and baby need.
  5. Hire a doula: A doula provides physical, emotional, and educational support for the mother during pregnancy and the birthing process. Research shows that having a doula assist you in your birth can reduce your chances of electing to have an epidural by up to 60 percent and cut your chances of having a C-section in half. To learn more about the many benefits of hiring a doula for both mom and baby, check out this article.
  6. Research natural alternatives for pain control: Techniques such as self-hypnosis, deep breathing, guided imagery, yoga and massage can offer non-invasive alternatives to help lessen the pain and keep you calm and relaxed during labor. Practicing these techniques during pregnancy can help prepare you for the big day once it arrives.
  7. Practice perineal massage: Utilizing massage to stretch the area around the vagina during pregnancy can help prepare you for childbirth and potentially shorten the labor process and accelerate your delivery. Begin your perineal massages after week 34 of pregnancy using warm olive oil as a lubricant and relaxing music to calm you. Having your partner help if you are comfortable with it is a great way to get them involved in birth preparation. 
  8. Know your rights: You may find yourself feeling pressured in the heat of the moment when a medical intervention is suggested during labor. Educating yourself beforehand and knowing that you have the right to accept or refuse any procedure, test, medication or treatment will help empower you to make the decisions that are best for you, even under pressure.

Having a natural and normal birth is a noble and attainable goal. Preparation during pregnancy can only help your chances of achieving your desired birth plan. At Health Foundations, we value the natural and miraculous nature of birth and seek to empower women to realize the awesome abilities of their bodies without intervention. To learn more about how Health Foundations can support you in your goal of natural birth, contact us for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We are committed to supporting you throughout your pregnancy, birth and beyond.