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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Q&A with SPB: DIY Padsicles

Posted on January 17, 2017 at 6:27 AM Comments comments (120)
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

Here is PART II of our VLOGS with guest doula, Michelle Ludwig from Modern Mama Doula Services.
 
Last week, she showed us her TOP 5 picks for postpartum.  Today she is going to share her DIY tutorial for you to make soothing postpartum “padsicles” right at home during pregnancy so that they are ready for you when you are home holding your sweet pea!



 
What you need:
-Witch Hazel ~ we both really like the Humphrey’s brand – available in regular or organic)
-Maxi-pads ~ if you can find them, get some chemical-free and bleach-free; usually available online
-Cookie Sheet
-Freezer Storage Bags
 
How to:
1) Open up all the pads and leave them on the wrapper so that they don’t stick to each other later
 
2) Lay them all out on your cookie sheet
 
3) Spray the witch hazel on to the pads until they are wet BUT not dripping
 
4) Put the whole cookie tray into the freezer for about two hours
 
5) Once the witch hazel has frozen, take them back out of the freezer and fold them back up for storage.  Place them in a freezer storage bag and back into the freezer while you wait for your Sweet Pea to make their appearance.
 
6) Use them during the postpartum period on top of the large postpartum pads you will receive in your birth kit or from the hospital.
 
They will be a little chilly at first, but after the initial freeze they will feel great on your bottom.
 
I did ask Michelle what her experience was with other “add-ons”. Some info out on the internet suggests using lavender essential oil or aloe vera gel along with the witch hazel on the pads when you are preparing them.
 
As Michelle so wisely answered, less is more. Witch hazel is an extremely effective healing agent, and it would be a bummer to find out that you are allergic to lavender or aloe vera when you are trying to heal from birth, learning to breastfeed and figuring out your mothering.
 
The witch hazel and pads are part of Michelle’s especially prepared Bump Boxes.  Along with the items for padsicles, you will also receive some hand crafted postpartum essentials that she makes herself.  You can order Michelle’s specially made with love package from her HERE
 
Would you like to interview Michelle as a doula? Please read her meet the doula feature HERE
 
Contact Michelle:
WEB http://www.modernmamadoula.com/
CELL OR TEXT 7204098977


Disclaimer: 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleThe material included in this video is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog and video contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

To Eat or Not To Eat…

Posted on November 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM Comments comments (32)
To eat or not to eat…That was the question for families planning a hospital birth.  When you are laboring at home or a birth center, you have the freedom to eat as your appetite dictates.  If you choose to have a hospital birth, you are at the mercy of your doctor’s orders and the nurse’s interpretation of the hospital protocol.  

We love it when science catches up to Dr. Bradley.  Anecdotally, we could tell students that it was safer to eat before/during labor since anesthesia has changed from the days of "knock'em out, drag 'em out" birth, as Dr. Bradley called it.  Women used to be under general anesthesia, which is administered differently than today's spinal or epidural blocks.  

We are so excited to update this post (and our class info!) with a press release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA):

"Most healthy women can skip the fasting and, in fact, would benefit from eating a light meal during labor, suggests research being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2015 annual meeting. Improvements in anesthesia care have made pain control during labor safer, reducing risks related to eating, researchers note."
ASA Press Release, "Most healthy women would benefit from light meal during labor", October 24, 2015

For other reading,  HERE is some research I had found before this 2015 press release to make the case for eating and drinking in labor (in case you want to do more poking around the subject).

Now...how long will it take for hospital protocols to change and reflect these recommendations from ASA? As we found out the hard way, sometimes the doctor approves something but if it is not in writing and signed off on the birth plan, it probably isn't going to happen in the hospital setting. The nurse will follow the hospital protocol or they may invent their own interpretation if none exists to cover their liability.  If you are going to have a hospital birth, I have a strong opinion about getting your wish list signed so that the nursing staff has “permission” to “break the rules” if they feel that something you are requesting is out of the ordinary.  Maybe you could ask for a copy of the ASA press release to be included in your chart that goes to the hospital.

Dr. Bradley always advocated that a healthy mom should eat if she is hungry and drink if she is thirsty.  As he said, “Birthing is like playing a full game of football without any substitutions.”  He recognized that labor is an athletic event, and that a well-nourished athlete would perform better than a hungry one.

Science and the ASA catch up to Dr. Bradley:
"The research suggests that the energy and caloric demands of laboring women are similar to those of marathon runners, Harty said. Without adequate nutrition, women’s bodies will begin to use fat as an energy source, increasing acidity of the blood in the mother and infant, potentially reducing uterine contractions and leading to longer labor and lower health scores in newborns. Additionally, the studies suggest that fasting can cause emotional stress, potentially moving blood away from the uterus and placenta, lengthening labor and contributing to distress of the fetus."  

A Note About Hospitals and Nourishment
If you are having a hospital birth, you need to find out how your care provider feels about nourishment during labor, even with this announcement by the ASA. If your care provider is on board with mom eating and drinking as her body directs, great!  Get it into your birth plan, aka "wish list", that you have permission to eat and drink.  If they restrict intake, you need to think about your options.  You may question whether or not your care provider is truly supportive of your plans for a natural birth.  

You should also ask what the hospital policy is on food and drink during labor when you do your hospital tour.  It helps to know what kind of potential situations you may be facing so you can avoid stress-inducing encounters during labor.

The potential conflict between a laboring mother’s needs for nourishment and her care provider or hospital protocol comes from the days when general anesthesia was standard for hospital births.  There was a very real danger of a mom “aspirating”, meaning that food or drink the mom had consumed before labor would be regurgitated and accidently enter the trachea and lungs, creating a life-threatening condition to mother and baby.  [See reference 1]

From the press release:
"Researchers said aspiration today is almost nonexistent, especially in healthy patients. In the United States, there was only one case of aspiration associated with labor and delivery between 2005 and 2013, involving a complicated case of a woman who was obese and had pre-eclampsia (a precursor to eclampsia, or high blood pressure that can lead to seizures), according to the American Society of Anesthesiology’s Closed Claims Project database. Researchers also noted that no cases of death due to aspiration were reported in the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2005, compared to 1.5 cases per 1,000 during the 1940s. They say this is likely due to advances in anesthesia care, including increased use of epidurals and spinal blocks in place of providing anesthesia through a mask over the nose and mouth. Before these improvements, women were more likely to need a tube placed in the windpipe for breathing, which potentially increased the risk of aspiration." 

Although very few women have births under general anesthesia nowadays, the practice of restricting food and drink still persists.  You may hear it called “NPO”, which stands for the Latin, “non per os”, meaning nothing by mouth.  With the press release from the ASA, we can keep our fingers crossed that hospitals will start to change their practice protocols.

In the past, it was likely that you would only be allowed ice chips if you opted for an epidural.  The chance of needing general anesthesia was within the realm of possibility since some moms and babies “crash” after the epidural dose is dispensed.  As with all labor interventions, you don’t know how you will react until it’s administered.  Although it’s a small percentage of women that have life-threatening complications, the prospect of the drugs dropping your heart rate, blood pressure or respiration to dangerously low levels exists once they are in your bloodstream.  In the instance of a “crash”, you would need general anesthesia to perform an emergency cesarean to save your or your baby’s life, thus your nourishment options become limited to ice.

Eating and Drinking During Labor
Have your refrigerator stocked with your favorite healthful foods and/or meals as you near your estimated due date.  Labor is a funny thing – you never know what your body is going to like.  If you think you are in labor, you can go through Dr. Bradley’s list of things to do to see if you are in pre-labor (contractions slow down or stop) or actual labor (contractions continue at same pace or get closer and harder despite the change in position or activity).  To "test" for labor, he suggests that a woman should eat, drink, go for a walk, shower and nap – in that order.  

When you start with the “eat” part of the list, it will be more satisfying to eat something you really enjoy.  If you are not in labor, at least you ate something you like and you can move on with your day with a tummy-full of your particular “comfort food”.  If you are in labor, then you have eaten something that is fueling your body for the labor.  It will put you in a good frame of mind if you ate something that is a favorite and you create a positive emotional state.

The best drink during labor is water.  Water is a key to staying hydrated and avoiding the slippery slope of interventions.  A hydrated body has the energy for the work of labor.  Ample water also allows for effective hormone distribution throughout the body: the chemicals and hormones being made to stimulate and progress labor are able to circulate freely.  If you have a longer labor, consider an electrolyte replacement: trace minerals added to the water you are drinking, Emergen-C makes a powder, or coconut milk is a "natural" version of sports drinks.

Dehydration causes a spike in temperature and blood pressure, while at the same time depleting your energy by as much as 30%.  Can you see that simple dehydration can also be interpreted as the mom being “in distress”?  Your care team will not want to take a chance of making the wrong call, so they are likely to intervene or suggest drastic measures to “save” mom and baby.

Whether you are laboring at home, a hospital or birth center, small-portioned, protein rich snacks are nice to have on hand.  As your labor progresses, a laboring woman’s appetite will naturally decrease as the body shuts down other functions such as digestion to allow for full focus on the progression of labor and birth.  

Here are some foods that we and other students have found useful for quick energy boosts when mom doesn’t have the desire to eat a full meal.  These snacks are also handy for the coach to get the energy boost he needs to be a great support person for mom.  We don’t want hungry, cranky coaches during labor!!

What the ASA recommends:
"A light meal could include fruit, light soups, toast, light sandwiches (no large slices of meat), juice and water. Most women lose their appetites during very active labor, but can continue to drink fluids such as water and clear juices, researchers said." 

- Honey sticks.  According to honey.com, “Honey is also a rich source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, which makes it ideal for your working muscles since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are necessary in the diet to help maintain muscle glycogen, also known as stored carbohydrates, which are the most important fuel source for athletes to help them keep going.” [2]

- Trail mix.  You get the nice variety of nuts, dried fruits and if you want, candy, in one bag.  I found myself picking out my favorite nuts and fruits and snacking on them – literally one or two at a time – as we got into the active phase of first stage labor.

- Protein bars or chews.  Look for bars that are low in carbs and added sugars –the key is to provide an energy boost without an energy crash afterwards. We have had students that use the “PowerBar” brand Energy Bites, as well as Gel Blasts that are bite size energy foods.

- Handful of nuts.  If you have a favorite nut (besides your coach-lol), bring some with you.  You can eat 1 or 10, whatever you are in the mood for.  I like nuts because you get the energy boost in whatever quantity you are in the mood to chew and swallow.  Trader Joe’s sells packages nuts in handy single serve packets.  I usually eat 2 or 3 pieces, and Bruss would finish off the bag for his energy boost.

- Popsicles.  While working hard in labor, a popsicle can be refreshing.  To prevent an energy crash, look for a brand that uses natural fruit as a sweetener instead of added sugars.  Added bonus: you can also push it against the top of your palate to stimulate oxytocin production.

- Applesauce cups.  Provide potassium along with a little protein.  The nice thing about applesauce is that while some people prefer them cold, they don’t need to be refrigerated.  Again, look for naturally rather than artificially sweetened sauces.

- Banana.  Another source of potassium that is portable and easy to eat.  To prevent a sugar burst, pair this with a cheese stick to balance out the carbs.



- Soup or clear broth.  Campbell’s came out with the “Soup at Hand Cups” that are single serve, portable and microwaveable.  They were a God-send during our third birth.  The nurse didn’t want me to eat “just in case”, but she was okay with me drinking – hence, I could drink my meal and stay nourished through our 34 hours at the hospital.

- Single serve smoothies or juice drinks.  I am thinking along the lines of Stonyfield Farm Smoothies or Drinkable Yogurts for a liquid protein boost, or the Odwalla line of Protein Beverages.  It’s a little sip of something sweet with carbs that still offers a protein source for energy.

As you noticed from the list, some of these foods need refrigeration or a heating source.  These are considerations if you are having a hospital birth.  It stands to reason that if you will not have access to a refrigerator or microwave, the items that won’t stay cool with an ice pack or the foods that need to be heated need to left out of the cooler.

The bottom line: eat to appetite and drink to thirst for the best labor possible!  I hope this list gives some ideas with which you can fill your refrigerator or cooler.  What did you eat during your labor?

Disclaimer:
Bradley Method classes offered in Arizona convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Payson, AZThe material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

References:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_aspiration

[2] http://www.honey.com/nhb/benefits/natural-energy/

Q&A with SPB: Healthy Pregnancy How-to

Posted on March 17, 2015 at 4:31 AM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Today's VLOG is all about the things that you *can* control in the very unplannable process of pregnancy, labor, birth and the childbearing year.











LINKS

What can you control?
1. Pay attention to your nutrition
This is just as important for the father as it is for the mother.  A better diet creates higher quality sperm, and a well-nourished mother can feed her growing embryo-fetus-baby as it develops from zygote stage through pregnancy.  A breastfeeding mother is also growing her infant's brain - mindful nutrition is just as important after the Birth-Day.

HERE is the pregnancy nutrition program that we teach in The Bradley Method®.

2. Engage in an exercise program
Your ability to give birth does not hinge on whether or not you are an exercise fanatic before you conceive.  A mother who wants to prepare her belly, back and bottom to give birth can follow a pregnancy-specific exercise program. Even doing a few minutes a day of this low-impact, low-stress program can be a game-changer for mamas and their overall strength as they go into their labor.  


 
What can you influence?
1. Your experience
You have the responsibility to choose the right care provider and the right birth setting for you.  If you have a nagging feeling that persists, or if you see/hear/feel red flags at your prenatal appointments that your provider is not right for you, GO WITH IT.  Believe in yourself and your instinct.  Ask people you respect and who felt supported in their births who they chose and why...and then, maybe take a risk! Go on some interviews to see if maybe you want to make a switch.

2. Relaxation and Pain Coping
We do not know what kind of labor card you are going to draw.  What we do know is that all labors and births can benefit from mindfulness.  Whether you have a natural birth, a cesarean birth, or anything in between, there is a surrender.  There is a point when you will have to dig deep and say YES to the journey that you are on. 

There are many ways to prepare for your journey - HERE is an info sheet that explores the variety of classes available to birthing families.

What is part of the journey?
The rest of your story is entirely up to your baby, your body, and The Fates.  A story is about to unfold - and what a story it will be.  However you birth, that day is one day in the rest of your lives as a family.  Be open to the experience, look for the joys, and also watch for the surprises.  

It is in the unexpected and the trials that growth and transformation happen...a transformation that is necessary as we experience a rite of passage.  Before children, you are you.  After they are in your lives, you are now Mother, Father, or which ever name you choose for yourself.

I wish you a childbearing year that surprises you, grows you, and leads you to discover more about yourself than you knew when you started.



Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.




Suggestions for an effective labor rehearsal

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (2)
Originally published February 2011 ~ Updated July 25, 2014

The class topic last night was first stage labor.  This stage is characterized by a progressive intensification of the sensations in labor.  A mom will experience her contractions, or her “surges”, getting increasingly stronger and longer with less time between them, as she gets closer to the pushing phase of her labor.

Why do a "labor rehearsal" when labor is so unpredictable?? Mostly to train you and your partner into some "muscle memory".  By practicing different positions and reminding yourself when/why they are effective, that body of knowledge is more readily accessed when you are in labor.  Even if you forget your "playbook", you have some tools that you can use without referring back to a print-out of labor positions. (Although, HERE is one that I share with students.  I used it to prepare for our births and often use it as a reference in our classes.)
 
We had our couples do an active labor rehearsal.  As a reminder to them, and as a practice tool for anyone reading this who is striving for a natural labor, here are our tips on having a good labor rehearsal.

 
1. Have a good guide at your fingertips.

The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson ArizonaWe have the advantage of a student workbook with illustrations to follow.  There are also resources out on the Internet with ideas for different positions to open the inlet of the pelvis to make room for baby.  The key is to try all the different positions.  Try to practice at least two simulated contractions every day, and you will find that you will have put your body in the different positions before you start labor. 

This is important for the following reasons: You will know if you can do them – if it hurts, maybe it’s time to do more stretching, or find other positions that have similar benefits without being uncomfortable.  You can also start making a list of the ones that feel really good, keeping in mind that this list may change as you are progressing through labor.
 

2.  Once you are in a position, don’t change it or move around during a contraction.

The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson ArizonaAgain, the key is to simulate labor.  Once mom starts having stronger surges, she will be physically unwilling or unable to move while she is having a contraction.  So train your muscle memory the right way from the beginning. 

That’s not to say that you will stick to one position during the course of your labor.  It’s likely that there are several positions that you will try, and you may eventually gravitate to a few that seem to be the most effective.
 
3.  If mom has to go to the bathroom, someone needs to go with her.
In actual labor, a coach or one of the assistant coaches must always stay with mom.  She is in a vulnerable time, PLEASE stay by her side.  If mom is not comfortable having you in the bathroom, getting over the emotional hurdle will be better dealt with outside of labor.  It sounds weird, maybe?  It is possible that emotional barriers can keep labor from progressing.  Who would want bathroom issues to extend the amount of time you are having contractions?  Another thought: why delay meeting your baby?
                      
This is what we personally experienced: if you leave mom alone, she may fall – this could drastically alter the course of your labor.  Additionally, there is no guaranteed labor pattern – just because you have been having surges 5 minutes apart and you think she has five minutes before her next contraction doesn’t mean she should “go” alone.  If she starts having contractions on the commode, she isn’t going to be able to move.  It is possible, since the bladder is emptied, that the contractions will feel stronger after she has voided since it has made room for baby to descend, and she will want your help handling the stronger sensations.  From our own personal experience, I know we hit “transition” in the bathroom in 2 of our 3 labors.  It was a good thing to have someone with me to help me manage the mental gearshift and the sensations.

4.  Coaches need to practice multi-tasking with every simulated contraction.

The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson Arizona
Coaches, you have a good job during labor.  You are the person that can make all the difference in mom’s confidence in herself and her ability to birth.  Prepare by working out your “athlete” at home and learning how to be the best coach for your team well before labor starts. 

Regarding such things as touch, music and environment: do you know her likes? Dislikes?  Do you know which relaxation techniques work for her?  Can you massage, talk, and time her contractions simultaneously? 

If you answered no to any of these questions, then we encourage you to start finding the answers!  And practice until you are doing several things at once without having to think too much about what you need to be doing to keep your partner completely relaxed through her labor.
 
5.  Watch mom’s key tension indicators.
The three main areas where mom will hold tension are her face (especially the jaw and brow areas), her hands and her feet.  Can you do the checkpoints in #4 and observe her for relaxation, too?  Most coaches need lots of help learning to do all these things at the same time.  You can find an assistant coach who is there to help support coach as he strives to do all these things.  Or, the assistant can help the coach to get mom as relaxed as possible so her body can get down to the business of having the baby.  The more efficient her labor, the sooner you will all be holding your baby in your arms.
 
The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson ArizonaA key thought is PRACTICE MAKES PREPARED.  As in all things where we seek to succeed, good practice leads to better results versus going in without any prior mental or physical preparation.  As labor has mental, physical and emotional aspects, we really encourage our students to allocate time every day to train their muscles and minds for the challenge of labor.
 
Some other tidbits from class:
TRANSITION
No first stage labor rehearsal in class is complete without a discussion about "transition", the time between the active stage and the pushing stage of labor.  Although it might be an emotional time, transition is a good thing – it means your labor is almost over. 

Question directed at Bruss: Which one of your labors had the worst transition?
Answer:  There was not really a worst. You need to look for signs and prepare yourself ahead of time, prepare yourself now. Since transition occurs at the end of labor and you are caught up with the whole process of labor, know what to look for.  There will be distinct signs and they are different for everybody.  In our case, Krystyna got really abrupt.  Up to that point, she would communicate with “this feels”…or, “please try”… transition was marked with, “I told you not to do that!”
 
I also reminded our class of a birth story they had heard where the couple’s only sign was a physical sign: mom started burping out of the blue, and it lasted a little while.  When she calmly announced, “I think I have to push”, it turns out she really and truly was ready without having the self-doubt or the pendulum swing of emotions.  (For the whole story, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDI61YWV5G0 )
 
HOSPITAL CARE
We were lucky enough to have two nurses join our class last night.  They were attending as assistant coaches-in-training for one of our moms.  I took advantage of the situation to ask the nurses who makes the best patient.  My goal was to illustrate the point that you are the labor you bring with you, especially in a hospital situation.  We encourage our students to write a birth plan to use as a communication tool, and to use positive communication (important at all birth venues).  The idea is that you are all on the same team and you wouldn’t be there if you didn’t feel some element of safety in the hospital.  As long as labor is progressing without complications, a couple is reasonable in their requests, and the care provider has signed off on the birth plan, it should not be difficult to have the hospital staff support your choice to have a natural labor.

Question:  Who makes the best patients, or who are the patients that are the easiest to work with?
Answer:  They are willing to work with patients who want to work with them.  They also appreciate patients who respect their medical training.  When it comes to requests, i.e. birth plans; patients who are nice get their way!
 
PRACTICE MAKES PREPARED
I want to encourage you to make the effort to practice what you want to happen on your baby’s birth-day.  We encourage our couples to do ten minutes in the morning before they get started on their day, and right before bed at night.  What better way to help mom feel safe, secure and stress-free?  She can go about her day knowing that she and baby are important enough to merit the time.  At night, she will sleep better after a good relaxation session.

We can attest to the fact that yes, it is hard to find the time.  In reality, you don’t find time – you have to make the time available.  It is worth it – even if you end up with interventions, the fact that you gave it your best effort makes for a labor that you can look back on with an element of pride.  The natural labor and birth you want is a reality – and the more you practice, the more likely you are to achieve the birth story you want for your family. 

There is another element to a successful labor beside preparation – and that is a well-rested team – and that is a post for another day.  Happy Practicing!!
 
 
Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

Birth News Roundup

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM Comments comments (87)


I hope you enjoyed our Mommy Con recap in lieu of a "Birth News" installment last week.  Here are the articles I have collected that I thought would be of interest to those of you TTC, currently pregnant, or getting close to welcoming your babies.  

This week was also Remembrance Day for families that have experienced the grief of loss.  I open this post with an event to honor their brief passage through our lives.


Remembrance Service for Miscarriage, Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss
Memorial service for those lost through miscarriage, still birth or neonatal complications.
The Bereavement Support Teams at Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert medical centers, invite you to a service in memory of those little ones lost through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal complications. Join us in love, support and comfort, as we mourn and remember these babies.
The memorial service will occur on Friday Oct. 18 at 5:00 PM.  Mercy Gilbert Medical Center’s Healing Garden, 3555 S. Val Vista Drive.
To learn more, visit MercyGilbert.org 
Source: AFN http://bit.ly/1hHSVdt

FERTILITY
New Test May Spot Which Embryos Stand Greatest Chance of Survival
“Doctors have unveiled a new test for determining which embryos have the best chance of survival.

The amount of mitochondria found in the cells of an embryo appeared to be a marker of its health, doctors reported Monday at the International Federation of Fertility Societies and American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting in Boston. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Higher levels of mitochondria -- the "powerhouses" of cells -- seemed to indicate an embryo was under stress and less likely to successfully implant in a woman's uterus, said study co-author Dr. Dagan Wells, a scientific leadership fellow at Oxford University in England.”
Source: US News and World Report http://bit.ly/GX1A0z

Increase seen in donor eggs for in vitro fertilization, with improved outcomes
“Between 2000 and 2010 in the United States the number of donor eggs used for in vitro fertilization increased, and outcomes for births from those donor eggs improved, according to a study published by JAMA. The study is being released early online to coincide with its presentation at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the International Federation of Fertility Societies joint annual meeting.”
Source: Science Codex http://bit.ly/16i1SFf

PREGNANCY
BPA exposure may increase miscarriage risk in pregnant women
“A new study presented Oct. 14 at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's (ASRM) annual meeting in Boston found women with the highest levels of BPA, or bisphenol A, in their blood were significantly more likely to miscarry than women with the lowest levels of the ubiquitous chemical.

"Many studies on environmental contaminants' impact on reproductive capacity have been focused on infertility patients and it is clear that high levels of exposure affect them negatively," Dr. Linda Giudice, president of ASRM, said in a statement. "These studies extend our observations to the general population and show that these chemicals are a cause for concern to all of us."
Source: CBS News http://cbsn.ws/16iirkz

Air pollution tied to high blood pressure in pregnancy
“Pregnant women who live in neighbourhoods with lots of air pollution may be slightly more likely to develop high blood pressure, a new study says.”

Caveat:
“Abbott, who was not involved in the research, said it had some key limitations. For example, some factors that affect a woman's risk of getting high blood pressure, such as her weight, were not taken into account. In addition, the study did not look at whether any women moved to a different neighbourhood while pregnant or spent most of their time away from home, where pollution was measured.

For those reasons, Abbott told Reuters Health, more research is needed to determine whether there are any blood pressure-related benefits to moving to an area with less pollution, or to staying indoors on high-pollution days while pregnant. "I would not make any recommendations to my patients based on this research," she said. The author is a student at the Boston University School of Medicine, and Abbott is a former professor of hers.”
Source: Health24 http://bit.ly/17p8qlI

Babies can be born dependent on drugs, even prescription medicine
"Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is a medical condition that occurs when a baby has been exposed during pregnancy to opiates," Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Carla Saunders explained.
In Jason's case, his mother took a specific prescription medicine for chronic migraine headaches, one she was told was safe for her unborn child.”
Source: WBIR.com http://on.wbir.com/16i1Ddk

Maternal cardiac function may predict outcomes in preeclampsia 
“Women at high risk of early preeclampsia who show signs of abnormal hemodynamic function earlier in pregnancy may be more likely to have adverse pregnancy outcomes, new data suggest.”
My note: this is a very small study – only 36 women in sample size
Source: OBGYN News http://bit.ly/16iiVXU

Using Prenatal Corticosteroids does not Increase Children’s Death Rate
“Even though the majority of pregnancies result in healthy live births, pregnant women still have to take some measures to prevent complications from arising. For some women, taking prenatal corticosteroids is necessary to curb preterm births, which increase the infant's and mother's risks of having potentially life threatening problems during and post birth. Women who are at high risk of giving birth prematurely are usually recommended to receive one dosage of this type of therapy. According to a new study, receiving multiple courses of prenatal corticosteroids does not appear to increase or decrease the risk of death or disability for children.”
Source: Counsel & Heal http://bit.ly/GY1gP9

NATURAL BIRTH
Birth gets the brain ready to sense the world
"Our results clearly demonstrate that birth has active roles in brain formation and maturation," says senior study author Hiroshi Kawasaki of Kanazawa University in Japan. "We found that birth regulates neuronal circuit formation not only in the somatosensory system but also in the visual system. Therefore, it seems reasonable to speculate that birth actually plays a wider role in various brain regions."
Source: Medical Xpress http://bit.ly/16iftMK

Birth Prepares the Newborn Brain to Sense the World with Sensory Maps
“A lot of things happen during birth. Chemical processes change in the brain as children travel through the birth canal. Now, scientists have discovered that the actual act of birth in mice causes a reduction in a brain chemical called serotonin. This triggers sensory maps to form, which prepares the mice to sense the world and prepares mice for survival outside the womb.”
Source: Science World Report http://bit.ly/1by6YAE

Searching for the secrets behind anesthesia 
"Surprisingly, even though we use these drugs in easily 250 million patients every year across the world, and have been using them since about 1850, we don't know how they work," said Roderic Eckenhoff, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

"There is concern right now, for example, that these drugs could have a durable cognitive effect, in other words, they might not leave the brain entirely unchanged," he explained."
My note: If this doesn't make people question epidural drugs, I do not know what will.  There is an appropriate use for them, however wholesale acceptance looks to be irresponsible.
Source: NewsWorks http://bit.ly/1fUyGgZ

My note: So between messing with birth and introducing drugs...we have to wonder if we are changing the incidence of depression by continuing to question the idea that Birth Matters:
Oxytocin Dysfunction Seen in Both Depressed Moms and Kids
"A dysfunctional oxytocin system may underpin the long-term harmful effects of maternal depression on child development, suggesting a potential for oxytocin-based interventions, researchers say.

"Infants of depressed mothers have long-lasting difficulties both in general and specifically in social and emotional outcomes, such as social engagement with others, the capacity for empathy, which underpin the capacity for intimacy," Ruth Feldman, PhD, psychology professor at Ban-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, who worked on the study, told Medscape Medical News." 
Source: Medscape http://bit.ly/16icnbN

BABY
Seattle Children’s researcher finds a clue to the mystery of SIDS
“A physician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital made another breakthrough in his research into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a mysterious disease that leaves grieving parents looking for answers that science has yet to provide.

The latest finding supports his earlier work, which indicates that SIDS babies don’t necessarily have a problem with their brain. Instead, Dr. Daniel Rubens’ research has indicated that problems with hearing and the inner ear may be linked to SIDS.”
Read the full article at http://bit.ly/GRzYdi

Screening for newborns a lifesaver
“Today every state tests babies at birth for PKU — but not just that. There are now more than 50 disorders that can be picked up through screening, 31 of which comprise the "core conditions" of the government's Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. Other conditions are likely to be added to the panel. All but two of them — hearing loss and critical congenital heart disease — can be detected by automated analysis of a few drops of dried blood from a heel stick done within a few days of birth." 
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette http://bit.ly/GY2YzP

BREASTFEEDING
This Is Breastfeeding In Real Life
“Turner started taking pictures of nursing moms around five years ago. Her shots were posed and “idealized,” she told HuffPost Parents over e-mail. But she wasn't interested in the improbable scenes of women on mountaintops in flowy clothing with happy and cooperative babies one sometimes sees: she wanted to represent real moms’ experiences. Gradually, she started to take her camera out into the world, where babies actually eat. “Most women I know are breastfeeding one child while sitting on a bench in the park or the mall and trying to fish crackers out of a diaper bag for another kid all while wearing an old t-shirt with a spit up stain on it,” Turner said.”
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson Source: HuffPost OnLine http://huff.to/GX1ZQA

Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


Natural Labor Coping Techniques

Posted on June 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM Comments comments (44)
Here are some of the ways we recommend our students manage their labor without analgesics or anesthetics.  Even when they are used in labor, we are so happy that our couples use them as tools to manage a long labor and their children are born nursing vigorously and with high APGAR scores.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Mom and Coach are informed. 
Through the course of The Bradley Method® class series, parents are taught about what to expect as “normal” in labor, what the variations on normal might be, the different options and interventions in labor, and how to recognize a complication that warrants a change in the plan for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.    

We also teach positive communication, something intended to strengthen the parental bond, as well as serve for positive interactions in the birth space with care providers and support personnel.  Our goal is that parents have the tools they need to evaluate labor, communicate their needs to care providers, and ask the questions they need to make informed decisions about the choices they may have to make in labor.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Mom and Coach are athletes. 
An athlete with an eye on crossing the finish line does four things:  They train, they rest, they nourish and they hydrate.  Dr. Bradley called his patients “obstetrical athletes”.    

His nurse, Rhonda Hartman, designed a training program just for moms to prepare them for labor.  We are still teaching our couples this training program, starting with week one of class and continuing until the time of birth.  We also “train” relaxation.  Each couple is encouraged to take the weekly technique and practice at least 15 minutes per day so that there is muscle memory for relaxation when it is needed in labor.   

We continually harp on the importance of sleep in the weeks leading up to labor and once labor starts.  We learned this lesson the hard way, and as excited as we know our students are going to get as they anticipate the birth of their child, we want them to try to rest.  Getting to the magic number of “10 cm” is only the first part of labor – once they reach 10 cm, they also need energy for the second stage of labor to welcome their child into this world.   

We also echo Dr. Bradley’s advice to eat if you’re hungry, drink if you’re thirsty.  He makes the analogy that going through labor without eating or drinking is like playing a full game of football without any substitutions.  The body is working and burning energy to birth your baby, it makes sense to follow mom’s physical cues.  As long as mom is okay and baby is okay, we have found that mom’s appetite will naturally decrease as labor intensifies; and as with an actual marathon, that the need to hydrate is as important in early labor as it is when mom is close to crossing the finish line.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson Water is your friend.
As stated above, a hydrated mother makes for an optimal obstetrical athlete.  She is hydrated for energy and optimal hormone distribution throughout labor.   

 Water is also a excellent relaxation tool.  It works magic in labor: the warmth and the sensation move tension away from the body and adding a layer of relaxation as it works to soothe the mother’s body.  I have heard it called, “The Midwives Epidural”.    

Many hospital moms now have access to the birth tubs that are used very effectively at birth centers or at home births.  If  using a birthing tub or home bathtub is not an option, then the shower can also be an effective tool.  The sensation of water will still massage and soothe the body.  With a shower hose attachment, the water can also be directed at the body where it is the most soothing for the laboring mother. 
  

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Use abdominal breathing.
Abdominal breathing is taught in many settings to deepen relaxation – yoga, hypnosis, meditation, stress relief, and in The Bradley Method® of natural childbirth classes!  Abdominal breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing.  Basically, you are allowing your belly to rise and fall as you breath instead of your chest.  If you watch children breathe, or if you remember what it was like to breathe before someone told you that you needed to suck in your stomach, you will know what it means to breath with your abdomen.   

Abdominal breath is an important foundation for relaxation.  It slows down our mind and it allows or bodies to release tension.  We teach abdominal breathing in class 2 so we can build on it through the rest of the series.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Coach is a relaxation expert. 
Coach needs to know what relaxes their partner.  Does mom respond to physical touch?  What kind of touch?  Does she like a strong counter-pressure or gentle effleurage?  Does she like a relaxation script, a prayer or a story read to her?  Does she feel safe in her birth space?     

By the end of The Bradley Method® class series, we have covered these, and many more questions, to help the Coach be a relaxation expert on their partner.  We also teach 11 different relaxation techniques for coaches to put into their “toolbox” to use as needed as labor progresses.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Have a trusted assistant coach. 
Champion sports teams have a stellar assistant coaching staff.  The head coach doesn’t try to do it all – he delegates and finds the best person to train his team so that he can keep his eye on the big picture and continue leading and motivating his team.   

We have noticed that couples with an assistant coach generally end up with births that are closer to the birth wishes they made in preparation for their labor.  The extra set of hands, the extra energy in labor make a difference.  The couples that hire doulas also have an experienced birth professional to help them manage the map of labor.  A good birth doula doesn’t take over the birth, she will help the couple to recognize the signs of progress and make suggestions for coach to support the mom.   

Even if you feel like you want to be just Mom and Coach, you can benefit from an assistant coach coming in for a period in labor.  When we labored with Angelika, a dear friend of ours came in and labored with me when Bruss needed rest.  I had been laying down the first day, resting and napping since we know we have long labors.  Bruss had been checking in on me, taking care of our older children while we waited for family to arrive to tend to them, and he took care of feeding all of us.  He REALLY needed to sleep after dinner that night.  Andrea came, labored with me as long as she could, and when it was time for her to get back to her own family, Bruss was rested and ready to be head coach again.  I am forever grateful for her time that night – it allowed for Bruss to rest and restore for the long work we still had ahead of us.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Break the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. 
We break the Fear by teaching couples what to expect in a normal labor, along with the many variations on “normal”.  We also break the Fear by discussing the complications and sharing strategies and options for them to consider if they are among the small percentage of people that face complications in labor.   

We break the Tension by teaching Mom and Coach to be relaxation experts.  We break the Tension by teaching couples to communicate together, and how to communicate with their care team for effective and positive interactions.   

We break the Pain by reminding mothers that labor is an athletic event.  It isn’t always easy, however it is doable.  We invite couples from the previous class come share their stories with our current class.  I have seen the “light bulbs” click for both Moms and Coach when the other “first-timers” share their stories.  It makes it more realistic to hear that other newbies had Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcomes by using the information they learned in class.  It reassures them that the intensity is brief compared to the joy of holding their children.  The new parents confirm that the work is worth the effort, and that staying the course and/or making Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby choices are rewarded with a happy family outcome.    

We also encourage couples to find affirmations, prayers, scripts and/or music to draw energy from in labor.  Labor is an exercise in intensity that ebbs and flows.  Having something to focus on besides the intensity that is growing helps to focus mom on the work that she is doing.  They can also restore and encourage her when she wants to give into the pain.    

By having knowledge, training and tools, couples are well on their way to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.   

What was a natural labor coping technique that worked for you during your labor?   

Disclaimer:  
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®. 

Failing to Progress or Naturally Aligning

Posted on June 1, 2012 at 4:52 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  We have had a couple of students have had textbook “NAPS” in the last two classes…and since we still have several couples waiting for their babies, I thought this might be a reminder and an inspiration to them for their labors.  NAP – no, they didn’t take epic naps in labor (although I am a big advocate for sleeping in labor)…what it means is that they were very patient in their labors.   

One of the cornerstones of The Bradley Method® is a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  All of the discussion below only applies if Mom and Baby are not showing any signs of distress through labor.  Mom is maintaining a healthy temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, and Baby is also showing that it is doing well as per the monitoring that is being done.  If Mom or Baby are starting to demonstrate that their health is compromised, then parents are encouraged to make the best choices for their particular situation.   

The words “Failure To Progress” are the sound of doom to some of us (I say "us" because I heard this three times!).  They very often mean that interventions are going to start being suggested.  How a couple acts upon those suggestions is very individual.  Marjie Hathaway coined the phrase “Natural Alignment Plateau”, or “NAP” as an answer to the dreaded “diagnosis”: “FTP”, or “Failure To Progress”.    

Failure To Progress is based on the Friedman’s Curve*.  It looks like this: 
 As human beings, it is in our nature to see this neat, explainable graph and say, “It’s a rule!” This can have dire implications whilst in labor if you really want a natural birth.  There are no averages in the midst of a labor – each labor on is unique and individual.  

Mathematically, it’s unfair for all labors to be expected to fit the average.  That brings in another concept we teach in The Bradley Method® classes: consumerism and informed consent.  If there is time: ask questions, ask for time, and then communicate and evaluate what you have heard with your partner before you decide on a course of action.   

  • It is important to remember that the graph is AN AVERAGE representation of labor.  It indicates that a mom should dilate 1 cm per hour, and push an average of 3 hours – for an average length of labor that is between 12-14 hours long.    
  • Math class reminder:  The average number is the number you get when you add all of the data in a set of information, and then divide that total number by the number of units that provided the data.  Applied to laboring mothers: That means that there will be some people that have labors much shorter than 14 hours, and other people that have labors much longer than 14 hours, more will be around that number…and then a few will be right on with the average.  


When a mom does not progress in dilation from one vaginal exam to the next, or between several vaginal exams, she may be diagnosed with “Failure To Progress”, and along come the string of possible interventions.  They can include any or all of the following, along with other interventions: an Amniotomy (intentional rupture of the bag of waters), augmentation of labor with Pitocin, an Epidural to take of the edge of Pitocin-induced contractions, a Cesarean.  

A cesarean may also be suggested if the care team suspects that the baby may not fit through mom's pelvis.  Diagnosed as "CPD", this is the subject for another post altogether.  For now, check the link I listed below* for more information.

Instead of accepting the words, “Failure To Progress”, Marjie decided to suggest a new phrase to her students: “Natural Alignment Plateau”.  NAP instead of FTP.  Natural Alignment Plateau is a different way of approaching that point in labor when dilation does not change.  What we teach in class and hope that our students will remember when they face this crossroads is, "Labor is much more than dilation."   

Labor can be slow to start, dilation can stop and/or contractions can slow down for many reasons.  Here are some to consider: 

  •  Did you change locations where Mom is laboring? 
  •  Is Baby posterior? (Click here for ideas to move baby)
  •  Is Baby trying to figure out how to line up in the birth canal? 
  •  Is there an emotional component that hasn’t been dealt with? 
  •  Is Mom tired and does she need a nap? 
  •  Is Mom making more hormones for labor? 
  •  Is Mom's pelvis still stretching (and using the extra hormones) for baby to fit?
  •  Is the Baby's head still molding for the passage through the birth canal?
  •  Is Mom making more colostrum for baby? 
  •  Has Mom surrendered to the birth? 
  •  Has Baby accepted the birth process?  


If your labor has been slow to start after a spontaneous rupture of membranes, or if you are seemingly “stuck” at a measurement of dilation, it might be time to evaluate what could be going on and change tactics: 

  •  Try a new labor position. 
  •  Go for a walk to clear your heads. 
  •  Take a nap to conserve your energy (It’s hard for a care provider to argue with a dad or doula who is protective of a sleeping mom.)  
  •  "Talk" to your baby and encourage them that you are ready to meet him/her. 


If Mom and Baby are doing well, you can ask for time.  There is not a medical reason for an intervention if Mom and Baby are doing well in labor and your care team confirms that Mom and Baby are okay.  Here are two examples for you to consider and think about if you face a point in labor when there is no measurable progress.   

We had a mom from our Winter class go from 6 cm dilated (usually considered Active First Stage – not yet in Late First Stage) to holding her baby in 21 minutes.  Yes – you read that correctly.  She went from what most care professionals would consider mid-range in labor to holding her baby in 21 minutes…that meant she pushed within that time, too, folks.  Hers was an emotional component.  She was waiting for her mom to arrive.  Once her mom arrived at the hospital and stepped into the room where she and her husband were laboring, her baby and her body got busy.  They dilated a total of 4 cm from 6 cm to “complete” at 10 cm, then pushed, and they were holding their baby in 21 minutes.   

Our other story is from our Spring Class.  Mom had a slow start to labor.  She had started seeing some clear fluid on Sunday, noticed some more on Monday, and went to the hospital on Tuesday.  They tested her fluid and it was amniotic fluid.  Although they were in triage and barely 1 cm dilated, the couple was strongly encouraged to be admitted.  Now they are into the hospital and the expectations of “Friedman’s Curve.”  

This couple did a great job of asking, “Is Mom okay? Is Baby Okay?” After getting their “Yes” answers, then they followed up with, “That’s great!  Then let’s wait a couple more hours and see where we are.”  And sure enough, the next time the staff and their care provider checked in, they were a little further along in labor.  Once things got going, this mom went from being 4 cm dilated to 8 cm dilated in one hour!  Within two hours of that point, they were holding their baby.   

The great news about hitting the NAP is that once the Mom’s body and Baby “get organized”, labor seems to progress very quickly.  Again, remember what I said at the beginning – things go well when a Healthy Mom and a Healthy Baby are given the time they need.  If Mom or Baby start to indicate that “healthy” is losing out, then a family needs to make the best choice for their situation.   

What has been your experience – have you had a NAP in your labor?  What choices did you make?   

For a full explanation of Friedman’s Curve click here or enter this URL into your browser: http://allaboutbirth.net/pdfs/Failure-to-progress.pdf    

Disclaimer:  
 The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®. 

Guess who?

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 5:32 PM Comments comments (28)
Our students are coming down the home stretch in their pregnancies!!  We invited some alumni from our last class to come share their birth story tonight so that our students could hear from the parents fresh from the birth experience. 
 
Their story brought up an interesting point that was echoed by some of our current students.  What do you do when uninvited guests show up at your birth?  How do you keep them from coming in the first place?
 
This is a touchy subject – how do you tell your loving family or your devoted friend that this is not the time when you want to see them?  What do you do when a well-meaning person arrives at your birthplace and all you want to do is have them leave?
 
The direct way...
The direct way...
The nice way...
The nice way...
You can tell people to leave either way. How you say it will definitely make a difference in the long run.
Among the topics we encourage our couples to discuss before labor starts is who they want at their birth.  There is definitely an emotional component to labor that will allow or hinder progress if mother is not feeling safe, ready or supported.  Who will be there that will encourage the couple and support their birth choices?  With whom will they feel comfortable sharing an intimate and vulnerable experience?
 
Things to consider:
  - Will you be okay if they see you using the bathroom?
  - Will you feel okay if they see you naked?
  - How will they react if you are impatient or rude to them?
  - How will they react when they see you uncomfortable and/or in pain? 
     Will they be okay with it?
  - Do they support your choices for a natural birth and your birth wishes?
 
If you answered no to any of these questions, then think twice about having the person/people you are considering to be present at your birth.  Mom and Coach need to clarify their list of people who are a yes and then communicate their wishes to their family and friends.
 
Belinda Hodder, CNM, who is at Valley Women For Women, has a great suggestion about breaking the news to everyone.  She suggests having your birth plan ready in time for your baby shower.  Bring several copies to the event and have “Sharing the Birth Plan” be one of the activities.  This way the announcement of your wishes is public and clear.  If you are asking people to wait to see you until a certain point, you have the opportunity to tell everyone together.  Hopefully no one will feel like they are being singled out since they are not the only ones being told not to come until you are ready for them.
 
Mothers and Mothers-In-Law are an interesting set of people in relation to labor.  I have seen a midwife’s site that explicitly states if a mother wants either of those people at her birth, she will refer them to a midwife that is comfortable with that scenario.  She does not take clients who want soon-to-be grandmothers present since her experience is that they negatively impact labor.  On the other hand, we have had several students whose mothers were present at their birth.  It all turned out okay – they all had their babies with their mother in the birth setting, and many of them said that they couldn’t have done it without them taking on the role of assistant coach.
 
If you like the idea of a mother-figure being with you and yet you think you don’t want your mother attending the birth, you can hire a doula who has the personality traits plus the know-how you want in an assistant coach.  Interview several doulas until you find the right balance of personality and experience that fits your comfort zone.
 
If your family members are not going to be asked or welcomed in your birth place and you are going to have a doula or other assistant coach there, stating the facts without emotion is the best suggestion I can offer.  Instead of saying, “You stress me out” or “I don’t think you can handle it” or “You have not been there for me why would I want you there now” or any variety of other reasons why you would carry negative emotion towards someone, stick to the facts.  “We have asked/chosen this person to attend our birth because they have the training to be an assistant coach.” 

Training can mean that they have completed or are working through a certification process; maybe they are reading your birth books with you (see the bottom of this page for our suggested reading list); or maybe they have attended your Bradley Method® classes with you.  Any or all of these things will prepare a person to be the assistant coach you need them to be as long as they are willing to support your birth choices and are committed to helping you have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
 
A person’s presence in the birth space can very much affect the progress of labor – someone with negative energy can hinder labor; someone with positive energy can help it progress.  If the people you are asking to refrain from attending your labor press you for answers, stick to the facts.  Be a team together, insist that, “We made this choice” and avoid pointing fingers, “Mom (or Coach) doesn’t want you there because…”
 
If people do show up at your birth space even when you believe you have made your wishes clear, designate someone to be the messenger, or write them a note that someone else can deliver.  You can phrase it kindly – “Hi, (Person).  Thank you so much for expressing your support.  We are focused on bringing baby earthside and regret not being able to come out to see you.  We could really use your help after baby comes.  Would you be kind enough to come back and see us after baby arrives?  If anything comes up, we will let you know if we need you sooner.”
 
You may also find that the amount of people you have in the birth space is too much or too few.  If you find that all the people you said yes to is stressing you out, you have permission to ask them to clear out so you can focus on your birth.  If you initially decided you were going to go it alone and you find that you really could use an extra pair of hands, or you need a fresh energy after a trial of labor, bring a list of assistant coaches you can call in to support you.
 
It is your body, your baby and your birth.  The people in your birth space can potentially hinder or help your labor’s progress.  Set yourself up for success and clarify your “guest list” before labor starts.  Although it’s a tiny detail in the grand scheme of preparations you are making, you will be glad you did.
 
What influenced your decision to invite or exclude people from your birth?
 
Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
We are now enrolling for our Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to May 21, 2012
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]
 

Chiropractic Care for Moms and Babies

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 4:12 PM Comments comments (30)
I admit it - I was one of those complete skeptics about chiropractic care.  I used to call them "chiro-quackers" and felt 100% sure that I would never let one touch me or my back.

Then our third child, Bryan, was breech at 32 weeks.  And he stayed breech - at our 36 week ultrasound, there was definitely a bottom where there should have been a top!  Desperate to avoid a cesarean and willing to try any natural measure I could, I asked my natural momma tribe if they could recommend anyone for the Webster Protocol - the three with answers all sent me to the same person: Dr. Kevin Ross.

We invite him to speak to our students because we feel that his care is one of the keys for our whole family to continue along the path of natural living that ties into our passion for natural birth.  He is passionate about chiropractic care and the benefits for mom, baby and the nursing relationship.  As an added bonus, he is also a Bradley dad® and can speak directly to the families coach to coach.

Today's post is short on written words - I will let Dr. Ross' videos speak for themselves.  You will see a title and a synopsis; click on the videos to learn more about the topics.  Enjoy!

The topics are:
- What is chiropractic care?
- What is "interfering" with the body's natural processes?
- What is "adjusting"?
- Chiropractic and Pregnancy
- Chiropractic and Babies
- The Webster Protocol explained

For Part 2 of this post, which is Coaching Back Labor click here.

What is chiropractic care?  
Dr. Ross introduces the concept of chiropractic care to our students.




What is "interfering" with the body's natural process?
Chemical, physical and emotional stressors interfere with the body's ability to heal itself.  Good chiropractors don't "fix" things - they clear the way for the body to do the work.


What is "adjusting"?
The common understanding of chiropractic care is a lot of pops and cracking.  Dr. Ross explains the different ways of adjusting - and there are many ways to adjust without "cracking".


Chiropractic and Pregnancy
Chiropractic care can help ease some of the physical discomforts of pregnancy.


Chiropractic and Pediatric Work
Babies can also be safely adjusted - do your research and find a chiropractor trained to do pediatric work.

The Webster Protocol
Guess what - it's not a turning technique!  It is actually stabilizing the mother so that the baby can safely turn head-down.

What do you think?  Have you considered chiropractic care as an option during pregnancy?

About Dr. Kevin Ross: 
Dr. Ross has been in practice for 20 years in Tempe, Arizona. His passion and love is pediatric and pregnancy care but his office cares for people of all ages. He is certified in the Webster Protocol for malpositioned babies.  If you would like to contact Dr. Ross, you can reach him at 480.730.7950, or visit his site at www.rechargeyourlife.com


Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
We are now enrolling for our Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to May 21, 2012
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]

Energy for Pregnancy and Labor

Posted on January 10, 2012 at 9:37 AM Comments comments (0)

Energy in pregnancy and energy for labor I made the mistake of serving sweet gooey treats for snack in class tonight.  It got really quiet after we did our labor rehearsal – oops.

So what are ways of increasing your energy during pregnancy, or additionally, your labor, if you are feeling low energy?   

Abdominal Breathing 
 We talk about it often in class – deep abdominal breathing is one of the best ways to increase oxygen in your body while still maintaining a deep level of relaxation.   

 Chest breathing wastes a tremendous amount of energy.  
 “Chest breathing is inefficient because the greatest amount of blood flow occurs in the lower lobes of the lungs, areas that have limited air expansion in chest breathers. Rapid, shallow, chest breathing results in less oxygen transfer to the blood and subsequent poor delivery of nutrients to the tissues.”  
  - From http://www.amsa.org/healingthehealer/breathing.cfm  

 Abdominal breathing can also eliminate the vicious circle of the fear-tension-pain cycle.  By relaxing, you can stop the chest breathing that causes tension that causes pain; the pain causes fear; fear causes more chest breathing that winds up until mom and/or baby are showing signs of distress that leads to more intervention.   

Trace Minerals 
 Birth is an athletic event, whether you have a sprint, marathon or something in between.  The more vigorous your labor is, the more important it is to restore your body’s supply of minerals. Exercise and stress, both of which may be present during labor, can drain the body of electrolytes and trace minerals, elements needed to maintain proper fluid balance and recharge energy levels.   

 In addition, energy is passed through the body via electrical charges.  In order to work well, properly functioning electrical cellular communication is essential.  Minerals act as catalysts for the biological processes in the body, including muscle response, the transmission of messages through the nervous system, and the utilization of nutrients in food.  All of these are essential if you want the most efficient labor possible.   

 Strive to find a trace mineral supplement with a flavor you can tolerate.  At the very least look for an electrolyte drink that will help replenish the minerals you need and might be using up through the course of late pregnancy and delivery.   

Take a Nap 
 Whether you are tired during the day when you are pregnant, or feeling exhaustion set in during labor, a nap is a great solution to help mom and dad face their labor with renewed energy and confidence.  A twenty-minute nap is a very effective tool for increasing alertness.  If you can get a 30-60 minute nap it helps with decision-making skills.  Both of those would be beneficial in labor.   

 I wonder what students picture as the length of nap when we encourage them to sleep during their labor. I think most of them must imagine a 2-3 hour nap, think it is impossible and cross it off the list since so few of them have been able to nap in their labor.  We know from experience that sleeping can be incredibly restorative during labor.  If Coach can convince Mom that just twenty minutes will do her well, remind Mom she doesn’t have to hunker down for a long time.  Mom will not miss out on anything by sleeping just twenty minutes; in fact, you can drastically change your outcome by being rested.   

 So turn off the lights, wrap her in a comforting blanket and stroke or talk her to sleep with your soothing voice.  If Mom responds to music, find some relaxation tunes to play for her.  Maybe use an eye mask to block out light – it seems to be easier to fall asleep when it is dark.  

Go for a Walk 
 We encourage all our students to be walking at least twenty minutes per day from the first day of class until the day they have their baby.  Regular physical exercise not only increases stamina, it also helps energize the body.  During the day or during a low-energy point in labor, a walk might be in order.   

 A change in pace or scenery can help restore energy.  I am not talking about constant walking to speed labor, especially if you start with contractions that are more than ten minutes apart.  If your contractions start that far apart, a good meal and rest are in order to conserve energy.   

 My first question to a tired couple is, “Can you get mom to sleep?”  If that doesn’t work, it is possible that a walk around the building or around the block doing abdominal breathing will oxygenate and wake up your body when you need to restore energy.   

Eat protein-rich snacks 
 Click here to read my list of good choices for labor snacks.  They are high in protein and complex carbs.  I try to avoid processed sugars or starches that rapidly convert to sugar – no need to repeat the effects of a quick sugar up and down that we saw in class tonight!   

Drink water 
 If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated and it’s time to get mom some plain water to get her fluid level back up.  In labor, the body is working in ways that you cannot measure.  Water is crucial to get the hormones that stimulate and regulate labor circulating effectively throughout the body.   

 Early signs of dehydration include thirst, loss of appetite, dry mouth and head rushes.  If Mom has a desire to eat, she needs to be eating to store energy for the point in labor when she is no longer hungry.  If this suppressed due to dehydration, she will miss out on her opportunity to store energy.  Head rushes can lead to an untimely fall, which could potentially change the course of your labor depending on the severity of the fall.   

 Continued dehydration can lead to increased heart rate, increased temperature, fatigue and headaches…which could also be construed as the mother going into distress.  You can absolutely head off a false distress warning in labor by making sure Mom is drinking eight ounces of water per hour, or chewing on ice if that is what she prefers.  If Mom is hydrated and this happens, then you know it’s time to pay attention and alert your care provider.   

 A side note on hydration: if Coach is good about getting Mom the necessary water, Coach also needs to be good about getting her to the bathroom.  A full bladder can lead to unnecessary pain in labor if the baby’s head is pushing against a full bladder.  It might also impede the progress of labor if the baby’s head is blocked from entering the vaginal canal by a full bladder.   

Figure out what works for you. 
 Conserving energy is extremely important because you don’t know how long you will be in labor.  There isn’t much we can control about labor if you follow the course for a natural birth.  You can influence how rested you feel.  It would be unfortunate to end up with medication, an episiotomy or a cesarean if the only factor for that choice is being too tired to make it through with the energy you needed to meet your baby.   

What are the energy saving or energy restoring methods that you use?  

 Would you like to read more about today’s suggestions?   

 For information on the minerals you need and how your body uses them: 

 Start a Walking Program While you are pregnant, focus on walking for energy and stamina.  After your baby is born you can consider the suggestions on walking for weight loss. 


Disclaimer:  
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.  
 


We are now enrolling for our Spring Series 
March 5, 2012 to 
May 21, 2012   

For more information or to register, 
please call us at 
602-684-6567 
or email us at 

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