click here for: Questions to Ask Your Caregiver Before You Give BIrth
Epidurals: real risks for mother and baby
"Many women have a good experience with epidurals. Sometimes the relief from pain can allow a woman to rest and relax sufficiently to go on and have a good birth experience. However deciding to use an epidural for pain relief can also lead to a "cascade of intervention", where an otherwise normal birth becomes highly medicalised, and a woman feels that she loses her control and autonomy. Often the decision to accept an epidural is made without an awareness of these, and other, significant risks to both mother and baby. Although the drugs used in epidurals are injected around the spinal cord, substantial amounts enter the mother's blood stream, and pass through the placenta into the baby's circulation. Most of the side effects of epidurals are due to these "systemic", or whole-body effects."
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Gestational Diabetes: A common sense approach
"Most doctors and some midwives believe GD to be a condition that can cause serious complications if not closely monitored and aggressively treated, chief among them being a high-weight baby. Women identified as gestational diabetics will be prescribed restrictive diets, including reduced calorie diets, have frequent testing for blood-sugar levels, and possibly insulin injections. They will probably have repeated tests to evaluate the baby’s wellbeing and an ultrasound scan to estimate weight. Women may have labor induced or even have a planned cesarean. After birth, the baby may have heel pricks to measure blood sugar. Based on results, the baby may be given bottles of sugar water or formula or removed to the nursery for observation.
Despite these practices, the research has not established the degree, if any, to which high blood-glucose levels short of true diabetes cause harm. "
"A woman having her labour induced is more likely to end up with a c-section. This is particularly significant for women having their first baby. A recent research study by Ehrenthal et al. (2010) found an increased c-section rate of 20% for women being induced with their first baby. They concluded that: “Labor induction is significantly associated with a cesarean delivery among nulliparous women at term… reducing the use of elective labor induction may lead to decreased rates of cesarean delivery for a population.” Another study by Selo-Ojeme et al (2010) found induction increased the chance of a c-section x3 for first time mothers. It is now well established that there are significant risks associated with c-section for both mother and baby. Childbirth Connection provide an extensive and evidence based list."
Excerpt: "While inducing labor is a popular choice to get labor started, the reality is that labor inductions are much more likely to increase the chance of a cesarean rather than a vaginal birth. Numerous studies have shown that whether it is a first or subsequent birth, women are more likely to have a cesarean birth if they choose to have their labors induced.Experts have noticed that the risk of preterm birth has increased by 30% in the last 25 years. Some have speculated that one reason for more preterm babies today is due to the increase in labor inductions.
A baby born at 37-38 weeks is known as a "late preterm" baby. Even though these babies are in the last month of pregnancy, one of the last developmental milestones is lung maturity. A baby born before 38 weeks can have more difficulty breathing and as result, may need to remain in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) until he or she can breath"
Excerpt: "Cesarean Delivery on Maternal Request (CDMR) has emerged in recent years as a separate category of childbirth. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that it is a subset of elective cesarean delivery: "Cesarean delivery for a singleton pregnancy on maternal request at term in the absence of any medical or obstetric indications." During these same years, the rate of cesarean section in the United States has increased dramatically. In 2004, 29.1% of US live births were delivered surgically, the highest rate ever in this country, accounting for 1.2 million births. Is this part of the reason that our maternal mortality rate has remained unchanged in the past 30 years, despite many medical and surgical advances?"
Excerpt: "In most published studies, 60-80% or 3 to 4 out of 5 women who have previously undergone cesarean birth can successfully give birth vaginally.
If you desire to try a vaginal delivery this time around, you’ll be happy to know that 90% of women who have undergone cesarean deliveries are candidates for VBAC. Quite interestingly, the highest rate of VBAC is in women who have experienced both vaginal and cesarean births and given the choice, decide to deliver vaginally."
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Treating Group B Strep: Are Antibiotics Necessary?
"GBS is a bacterium that normally lives in the intestinal tracts of many healthy people. A vaginal-rectal area colonized by GBS should not be termed "infected" any more than an intestinal tract colonized by GBS would be. GBS is a problem only when it is present in the genital area of a pregnant woman during labor and delivery. When this happens, there is a small risk that the bacteria will be passed on to the newborn infant and that she or he will become sick as a result. Approximately 0.5 percent of women found to have GBS bacteria in their genital areas at 35 to 37 weeks into their pregnancies and who are not treated with antibiotics will go on to deliver a baby who becomes ill from GBS."
Excerpt:"You've probably experienced one of these, or know someone who has:
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)
- Preeclampsia, toxemia, HELLP syndrome
- Placental abruption
- IntraUterine Growth Retardation (IUGR)
- Preterm labor and bed rest
- Drugs to reduce blood pressure and halt preterm labor
- Small for Gestational Age (SGA) babies
- Premature babies
Pregnancy is scary these days, especially when we are constantly told that there is no known cause and no known cure to any of these common complications. But is that really the truth?"
"What Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know About Cesarean Section helps a pregnant woman understand:
- maternity care trends that may influence her birth
- her legal right to "informed consent" and "informed refusal"
- what is at stake in the decision about whether to have a vaginal or cesarean birth
- situations that can lead to surgical birth
- tips to follow in pregnancy and at birth to increase her chances for a safe and healthy birth."
"During the last part of your pregnancy, your baby’s lungs mature, and he puts on a protective layer of fat, taking on the characteristic chubbiness of a newborn. Critical brain development continues through 41 weeks of gestation. Scientists estimate that there is a five-fold increase in the volume of white matter in the fetal brain from 35 to 41 weeks gestation. Researchers are still investigating how the brain continues to grow after the baby is born, compared to how the brain grows when the baby is still inside his mother (Kinney, 2006)."