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Stay Safe and Cool Through Your Summer Pregnancy - Part 1

Posted on June 7, 2016 at 9:31 PM Comments comments (181)
Bradley Method classes offered in Arizona - Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson, AZ

Ideas to Have a Safe Pregnancy 

During the Summer Months
Hello, Mr. Sun!

My friend and colleague Tina Lebedies suggested this topic.  As it turns out, there is a lot to write about when it comes to coping with the heat while you are pregnant!  So this is how I am going to organize this topic: I am going to split in two parts.  Today I am going to share why it is so important that you take extra care – be a Drama Queen when it comes to taking care of yourself if you are pregnant in the summer.  Then I am going to list the concerns with their symptoms and suggestions to ease the symptoms. 

Check back on Friday for Part 2 of this post. I am going to share some ideas and give you some tips to stay cool and live smart through the summer months.
We are lucky in Arizona – to stay cool we head indoors or get wet and then let our skin air dry.  In humid climates, the added moisture makes it harder to stay cool – I am glad we live in a dry heat!  I had three summer pregnancies that lasted through July, and two went through September!! We are not good planners in that department - LOL.  At least, now I am well-versed in finding to cool off and stay cool – for that I will count my blessings.  It comes in handy now that I am toting four Sweet Peas through the hot summer months :)
The first thing I am going to point out as a Bradley Method® instructor is that keeping track of your diet and fluid intake is of utmost importance, even more so in the summer.  Eat between 80 – 100 grams of protein per day, and include salt in that equation to keep a balanced diet.  I cringe when I read pregnancy articles that suggest a pregnant woman should reduce her salt intake if she is swelling. 
Cutting back on salt can cause a decrease in the amount of blood circulating through your body and placenta (a condition called “hypovolemia”), thus reducing the supply of nutrients passing to your baby.  How will you know if you are not getting enough salt?  Too little salt in the diet leads to leg cramps and fatigue, so if you are experiencing these symptoms exclusive of the heat factors I am going to write about below, try salting your food to taste and see if those symptoms are minimized or go away altogether.
I assure you that you are not the only pregnant person who is feeling just a tad hotter than usual this summer.  It doesn’t matter if you are still in your first trimester – you will be a little hotter even though your body doesn’t show your pregnancy yet.  In some ways it’s even more important that you protect yourself because it is a time of crucial development where overheating can have devastating effects on the baby.  If you have already been making your coach take care of you and he or she thinks you are being over-dramatic, then have them read this post, or any of the “official” articles I reference at the end of the post.
Why You Feel Hotter
There are several reasons why your core body temperature is elevated:
1.  Your body is undergoing hormonal fluctuations.
2.  You are carrying the extra weight of your baby, and if you are like me, you have extra padding your body insists on adding on, no matter how well you eat and how often you exercise.
3.  Your body is working to cool your body, plus the body of your growing baby.
4.  Your increased metabolism also increases your body temperature, and it works harder as your baby demands more from your body.
Why You Need To Insulate Baby
Your baby’s body temperature is 1°C (almost 2°F) warmer than your body temperature, and they cannot sweat to cool themselves down.  The only thing cooling your baby is your body’s knowledge of how to grow your baby.  If your body starts to heat up and it can no longer work to keep your baby’s temperature down, there are many things that could happen.
Whatever the trimester, your baby’s heart rate could start to go up.  In regards to the first trimester specifically, studies have shown that babies are especially susceptible to heat stress in the first trimester of pregnancy when the major body systems are developing.  An elevation in the pregnant mothers body temperature above a safe range has been associated with birth defects such as heart problems, abdominal wall defects, nervous system malformation and neural tube defects.  Exposure to extreme heat could also increase the risk factor for experiencing a miscarriage or pre-term labor.


Dehydration – a condition in which your body does not have the fluid it needs to maintain healthy body function.  When you are living for two, staying hydrated is even more important.  If you are dehydrated, it could cause the baby’s heart to beat too quickly.  It can also increase your risk of pre-term labor.  The decrease in blood volume causes an increase in the concentration of oxytocin.  Oxytocin the hormone that causes contractions to begin and intensify, and an excess of oxytocin is not a good thing unless you are supposed to be in labor.
One of the first signs that you are dehydrated is feeling thirsty.  If you are feeling like you really could use a drink, then you are already dehydrated – find a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage ASAP and drink it!
Other signs of dehydration are dry or chapped lips, dry skin, fatigue, constipation or decreased movement from your baby.  If you are experiencing these symptoms, get yourself to a place with cooler temperature, have a seat and drink some water or fruit juice.  If your symptoms don’t improve, or your baby doesn’t start increasing their movements within the next hour, call your care provider and ask for further instructions and/or head to a hospital emergency room.
Fluid Retention and Dehydration
A pregnant woman carries an average of 15 pounds of extra fluid to support the physiological changes during pregnancy.  This is considered to be a normal amount of fluid increase, sometimes called physiological edema.  A little more than half of that fluid is used to replace the amniotic fluid (it is replaced every hour by using about a cup of water that is stored in the body), it helps to hydrate and nurture the cells of the baby and the placenta.  The rest of it is used in the bloodstream to carry more oxygen and nutrients to the mom and the baby, and to remove waste products from the mom and the baby.
Interestingly, fluid retention, as opposed to the fluid increase I described above, may contribute to dehydration.  If you are retaining fluids, the fluid is absent within the cells where it is needed.  Instead, the fluid is retained in the space around the cells, causing the pregnant mom to look puffy and swollen. 
Whether it’s normal physiological edema or fluid retention, you may notice that your feet and ankles are uncomfortably swollen.  This happens since your legs are lower than the level of your heart.  It’s harder for blood to work against gravity even when you are not pregnant, so add pregnancy on top of that and you start to swell.  Add in the fact that your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins traveling up towards the heart, and voila, you have swollen feet and ankles.
You can relieve this swelling by making sure you are drinking enough water.  Believe it or not, drinking water can reduce your swelling!  While it doesn't seem like it makes sense to get rid of fluids by taking in more, the extra fluids will help flush out your system of waste products which may have increased the swelling in the first place.
On the flip side, I should also tell you that it’s possible to get too much water, also known as water intoxication.  In this case, the extreme saturation of water in your body dilutes the necessary electrolytes too much.  This can cause fatigued muscles, muscle cramps and even unconsciousness in the extreme cases. 
Use good judgment when it comes to your fluid intake – at least 8 – 10 glasses of water a day if you are moderately active, and more if you are more active.  As I mentioned above, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  Have that drink of water even if it means it’s the 12th or 13th drink you have had that day.  If your thirst persists, it may be time to call your care provider.
Here are some other things to do to decrease swelling and its discomforts:  take rings off swollen fingers, use flat and/or open toed shoes, and avoid prolonged sitting or standing positions that allow your blood to pool.  If your activity or job requires you to stay in a standing position for an extended period of time, you can get up and take a five-minute walk or march in place to encourage circulation. If you must sit, do it in such a way that shortens the distance between your heart and your feet, such as propping your feet up on a bench or footstool. The best sitting position for circulation is tailor sitting, so sit on the floor when possible, or armless chair if you are at a desk or table.  No matter what the activity, you can also try a maternity belt to lift your uterus up and allow for better circulation.
My favorite way to reduce pregnancy swelling is resting in a side-lying position for 20 – 30 minutes at a time, at least twice a day.  When you lay down, elevate your feet.  You can do this by putting a rolled up blanket or towel underneath your mattress, or propping your feet up on pillows.  It is easier to find time for this if you are expecting your first child – use the time to meditate about the upcoming birth and fill your mind with positive thoughts and affirmations. 
Even if you are mom of other children, find the time to lie down twice a day and invite them to join you.  You can use this time to tell older siblings their birth stories, look at pictures of their birth and talk about who came to visit them when they were born.  This can serve to open the lines of communication and talk about their feelings about the new baby, whatever they may be.  Finding time to talk to your children is something you will always treasure.

Hyperthermia, or over-heating, is one of the most dangerous conditions of pregnancy.  It can start with something as seemingly benign as heat cramps; proceed to heat exhaustion, and quickly progress to the life-threatening condition of heat stroke.  May I remind you again?  It’s okay to be a Drama Queen when it comes to staying cool and comfortable during the summer months.
These are the warning signs of hyperthermia.  As with any sign that your pregnancy is moving outside of normal, it is important to get rest and replenish your fluids.  It is imperative that you call your care provider if you experience any of these symptoms and it’s not close to your due date, and you know you been exposed to intense sun and/or heat.  If these symptoms persist after rest and fluid intake, ask yourself if you should be heading to the nearest hospital:
1.  More than five contractions or cramps per hour
2.  Bright red vaginal bleeding
3.  Acute or continuous vomiting
4.  Low, dull backache
5.  Intense pelvic pressure
6.  Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands – this could be a sign of preeclampsia
Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are the earliest warning sign of hyperthermia.  This typically follows after heavy perspiration.  The loss of electrolytes leads to muscle spasms.  If and when you experience any cramping after a lot of perspiration, listen to your body.  Take steps to reduce your body temperature immediately and replenish the electrolytes in your body.  If you can recognize and ward off a dangerous rise in body temperature at the beginning, you may be able avoid the other dangers and complications of hyperthermia.
Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures, a restricted fluid intake or the failure of the body’s mechanism to regulate your temperature.  Signs that you might be experiencing heat exhaustion are:
- Skin that may feel cool and moist and appear pale
- Headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, faintness, light-headedness, fatigue, exhaustion, mental confusion, anxiety, muscle cramps
- Rapid, weak pulse
- Breathing may be fast and shallow or it may feel like you have shortness of breath
- Blood pressure may drop
I will repeat, the best thing to do if you experience any of these symptoms or warning signs is to take steps to reduce your body temperature immediately and replenish the electrolytes in your body.  These are more serious signs, so please don’t hesitate to enlist the help of strangers to assist you to a cooler place and to bring you water or other fluids, such as juice or an electrolyte drink.
Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.  When you experience any of these symptoms due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures, a restricted fluid intake or the failure of the body’s mechanism to regulate your temperature, the impact on the body is much greater.  As a Bradley Method® instructor we cannot give you medical advice, what we can and always will tell you to do in these situations is to call your care provider and get yourself to the nearest hospital to ensure that both mother and baby are attended to as soon as possible.
Signs of heat stroke:
- Body temperature reaches 104°F (40°C) or hotter
- Mental confusion
- Combative and bizarre behavior
- Staggering
- Faintness
- Strong and rapid pulse (160-180 bpm)
- Skin will become dry and flushed
- Sweat very little
- Quickly lose consciousness and have convulsions

The two conditions I described today, dehydration and hyperthermia, can become medical complications that can compromise both you and your baby if you don't take simple steps to prevent them.  It bears repeating that staying hydrated, getting rest, and staying out of the heat and direct sunlight as much as possible are some of the simple yet effective steps you can take to stay safe and cool through the summer months.

Check back on Friday for a detailed list of ideas that you can use ranging from clothing to fluids and foods to sun safety.  Many of the ways to stay cool take minimal effort and do not require you to spend a lot of money.  Frugal is good in these interesting times!

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®.




http://www.suite101.com/content/coping-with-the-heat-in-pregnancy-a129230 http://www.parentingweekly.com/pregnancy/pregnancy_health_fitness/hot_summer_safety.htm




VBAC: The BIG picture of the risks

Posted on April 24, 2015 at 9:58 AM Comments comments (119)
Uterine Rupture.   

If you have had a previous cesarean, this is THE “drop” word for many care providers when they have their “informed consent” talk with patients for consequent pregnancies.

Today I want to take a look at several other complications related to labor and delivery.  If your care provider is expecting you to be influenced by risk factors for uterine rupture, I think it is fair to look at all the other risk factors of pregnancy and labor in order to create a bigger picture and put things into perspective.

Pregnancy is generally considered a healthy time in a woman’s life.  In order to make life, the woman’s body has to be able to support that life.  In most cases, it is healthy women who become pregnant.  What do we have to be afraid of?  In most cases: nothing.  However, as with many if not all things in life, there is a certain level of risk, and yes, sometimes things go wrong.

So let’s start with the risk numbers for uterine rupture.  Read THIS blog post for an in depth look at the numbers.  Here is the summary of the incidence of uterine rupture, depending on what category you fall in:

  • Unscarred Uterus: 0.0033% (primigravidas) to 0.0051% (multigravidas)
  • VBAC: .5% - .7% 
  • VBA2C: 1.7%  (vaginal birth after 2 cesareans) 
  • VBAMC: 1.2%  (vaginal birth after multiple cesareans) 
  • Previous VBAC: .4% - .5%  (if you had a previous successful VBAC) 
  • VBAC + Augmented labor:  .9%  (stats for first attempt) 
  • VBAC + Induced labor: 1%  (stats for first attempt) 

So what are your risks of other complications of labor?

True statisticians are going to take issue with this oversimplification of comparisons.  In recognition that a percentage is more than its face value, here are the ratios and the sources for my information:

Postpartum Hemorrhage:  1/5 – .2000 – 20%
Definition:  “Postpartum hemorrhage is traditionally defined as blood loss greater than 500 mL during a vaginal delivery or greater than 1,000 mL with a cesarean delivery. However, significant blood loss can be well tolerated by most young healthy females, and an uncomplicated delivery often results in blood loss of more than 500 mL without any compromise of the mother's condition.” Quoted from Medscape  
“The incidence of postpartum hemorrhage is about 1 in 5 pregnancies, but this figure varies widely due to differential definitions for postpartum hemorrhage.” 

Preterm labor and preterm delivery: 1/9 – .1111 – 11.11%
Definition: Baby born before 37 weeks

Post-Maturity: 3-6%
Definition:  pregnancy past 42 weeks in which the placenta cannot provide the nourishment to maintain a healthy fetus
“The incidence of postdates ranges from 3 - 12% of all pregnancies. If the pregnancy is dated using ultrasound criteria, the incidence of post-dates is lower and ranges from 3 - 6%. Only 1 - 4% of all pregnancies continue to 43 weeks.”
Stat & Quote SOURCE

Breech presentation: 3-4 % of all deliveries
Definitions of the types of breech:
Frank breech (50 – 70% of all breeches): In a frank breech, the baby's buttocks lead the way into the pelvis; the hips are flexed, the knee extended (pike position).

Complete breech (5 – 10% of all breech): In a complete breech, both knees and hips are flexed, and the baby's buttocks or feet may enter the birth canal first (cannonball position).

Footling breech (10 – 30% of all breech): one or both feet lead the way.
Stat SOURCE for frank, complete, and footling breech birth

Transverse lie. A few babies lie horizontally in the uterus, called a transverse lie, which usually means the baby's shoulder will lead the way into the birth canal rather than the head.  1/500 –  .0020 – 0.20%

Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes before 37 weeks: 3%
3% of all pregnancies and occurs in approximately 150,000 pregnancies yearly in the United States 

Preeclampsia:  2% to 6%
Definition:  a condition of pregnancy in which the mother’s blood pressure starts to rise to dangerously high levels, the indicator for possibility of more complications that are potentially fatal to mother and/or baby; 2% to 6% in healthy, nulliparous women (women who have never given birth yet) 

Placenta Abruptio: 1.0%
Definition:  the placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery of the baby
“The frequency of abruptio placentae in the United States is approximately 1%, and a severe abruption leading to fetal death occurs in 0.12% of pregnancies (1:830).”
Stat & Quote SOURCE


Umbilical cord prolapse: 1/300 – .0033 – 0.33%
Definition: the umbilical cord precedes the baby in the birth canal

Placenta Accreta: 1/533 – .0018 – 0.18%
Definition:  the placenta grows too deeply through the uterine wall 
July 2012 study publication

What do you think now that you have seen a wide array of complications and risks?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.

For more reading:
Uterine Rupture in Pregnancy: Article dated July 31, 2012

The Risks of Cesarean Section

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®.

Birth News

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 6:31 PM Comments comments (84)
Happy New Year!!  Wishing all of our readers many blessings as you welcome the new year.  I trust your holidays were wonderful and that you are looking forward to all the promise of a fresh slate.

These are probably going to keep being evening editions - thank you for your patience as we ramp up posting again in the New Year.  I am really placing a high value on being Peaceful Mama for my kiddos, which means that being on the computer is taking a back seat to homeschooling and teaching classes this season.  

I will be back in full swing soon - until then, please do not hesitate to contact me via email (krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com) if you have any pressing questions about pregnancy, natural birth or breastfeeding!

Birth News
NOTE: Please read this with a grain of salt - we have had students have beautiful, term babies even though they used IVF to attain pregnancy.  Simply shared as a tool for discussion with your care providers as you weigh the benefits and the risks.

IVF Pregnancies Are More Likely To Result In Stillbirth, Preterm Birth, Low Birthweight, Or Neonatal Death

Couples struggling with infertility often turn to assisted reproductive therapy in an effort to start the family of their dreams. A study out of the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute found that pregnancies conceived with assistance such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) are more likely to end in stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, or neonatal death, compared with natural pregnancies.

"More research is now urgently needed into longer term follow-up of those who have experienced comprehensive perinatal disadvantage," said lead researcher Professor Michael Davies from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute. "Our studies also need to be expanded to include more recent years of treatment, as the technology has been undergoing continual innovation, which may influence the associated risks."

Medical Daily http://bit.ly/19V24Sc

NOTE:I am by no means suggesting that you *should* go get a flu shot – again, I am simply offering this as information to discuss with your care provider.  See what Dr. Sears has to say about the flu shot during pregnancy HERE and HERE 

Flu shots in pregnancy protect babies from being born too soon, Canadian studies show

Pregnant women who are vaccinated against the flu are significantly less likely to deliver premature or low-birth-weight babies compared to unvaccinated expectant mothers, new Canadian research finds.

Based on more than 12,000 women in Nova Scotia who gave birth in the immediate aftermath of the H1N1 flu pandemic, the study adds to mounting evidence that the flu can have “really detrimental effects for both mothers and their babies,” said first author Alexandra Legge, a fourth-year medical student at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Ottowa Citizen http://bit.ly/1gqKeoL

Premature 'Water Breaking' During Pregnancy Linked to Bacteria

High levels of bacteria are associated with water breaking 
prematurely in pregnant women, a new study indicates.

Researchers arrived at their findings by analyzing samples of amniotic sacs (fetal membranes) from 48 women after they gave birth. The report is published in the Jan. 8 online issue of the journal PLoS One.

Nearly one-third of early deliveries are associated with premature rupture of fetal membranes, and it's important to learn more about why this happens, the researchers noted.

WebMD http://bit.ly/1d31rF3


Is Placenta Encapsulation the Answer to Postpartum Depression?

It's a sad reality that a lot of moms are familiar with postpartum depression. For anyone that has suffered from this type of clinical depression, you know the impact it can have on both the lives of the individual suffering, and those around her. There have been studies upon studies to find a way to eradicate the symptoms; some have been proven helpful and others not so much. But what if you knew of something that could eradicate all the above? Something so simple, natural and readily available. Would you give it a try? What if that particular “something” just happened to be encapsulating your placenta and eating it? Ew. But what if it really worked?

Not only does it work, but it does much more than combat the “baby blues.” January Jones, Kim Kardashian, Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamara Mowry-Housely all rave about their experiences with encapsulation. Before you allow your stomach to churn, put down your lunch for a few moments and take a few moments to learn more about placenta encapsulation and postpartum depression.

Mommy Noire http://bit.ly/1gqI3By


New causes of diabetes in babies discovered

Scientists have found two new genetic causes of neonatal diabetes - a form of diabetes that occurs in the first 6 months of life. 

The research by the University of Exeter Medical School provides further insights on how the insulin-producing beta cells are formed in the pancreas. 

The team discovered that mutations in two specific genes which are important for development of the pancreas can cause the disease. 

Business Standard http://bit.ly/1a3eaX5

'Kangaroo Care' May Have Lasting Benefits for Human Babies 
At age 10, the children who had received maternal contact as infants slept better, showed better hormonal response to stress, had a more mature functioning of their nervous system and displayed better thinking skills.

LiveScience http://bit.ly/1gpnkyc

Preemies who cry a lot may have problems later on

Premature babies who cry a lot may be more likely than other preemies to have behaviour problems by the time they reach preschool, a new study suggests.

Experts said the reasons for the finding are not certain, and no one knows whether "interventions" to soothe preemies' crying would ward off behaviour issues later.

"In many ways, this study raises more questions than it answers," said Dr Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioural paediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Centre in New Hyde Park, New York.

Health24 http://bit.ly/1iWKgZG

Doctors report uptick in number of babies with RSV, a respiratory virus, this flu season

For older children and adults, RSV is usually like a cold. Since there isn't a good vaccine against it, Dr. Starke says parents of babies should act fast if their baby has trouble breathing.

"You notice their chest going in and out, they're breathing rapidly, those kids need to be seen right away," he said.

Dr. Starke says there's no treatment for RSV, so parents may want to be extra cautious about taking their babies out in public during this RSV epidemic.

abc13.com http://bit.ly/1gqJ8cC

Study Links Breastfeeding to Lower Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The latest study documented in the journal Rheumatology, was conducted on more than 7,000 older Chinese women. It revealed that breastfeeding was strongly related to a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Mothers who breastfed, their risk of rheumatoid arthritis came down by almost half compared to those who never breastfed.

There were studies conducted prior to this that focused on the association between breastfeeding and RA, but the results produced were mixed.  It is a well known fact that breastfeeding benefits infants. But there has been growing evidence that breastfeeding has a positive impact on the health of the mothers too. This latest cross sectional study examined the association between breastfeeding and RA and also on the intake of oral contraceptives.

Science World Report http://bit.ly/1iWMTKQ

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®.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

10 Good Things

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 10:09 AM Comments comments (241)

I got a desperate text this week from an alumni mom.  A mama in her circle heard these words from her OB, “Nothing good happens after 40 weeks,” as a reason for her to schedule an induction.

All I could think, was, "WOW!" and how grateful I was that our care providers did not have that belief.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
 I want to preface this post by 
clearly stating that this is not medical information, nor am I medical professional.  What follows are consideration and discussion points for a couple who is thoughtfully weighing their options.

Here are two sites that do offer reputable information:
  1. PubMed offers an ABSTRACT of a Harvard Study that questions the current method of establishing due dates.  Their study found that white, low-risk women delivered after their due date.  The median for first time moms (primipara) was found to be 8 days past the estimated due date.  Moms in their 2+ pregnancy (multipara) were 3 days past.
  2. Childbirth Connection offers an evidence-based analysis of the concerns, methods and options available to birthing families when faced with the choice of induction.

As we say in class, your due date is not an expiration date.  So what might be going on with your baby and your body when your due date comes and there is still no sign of labor?  If you are having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, there could be a variety of things happening that are still within the “range of normal”.  If you believe that your body and your baby have their own timeline, here are some points to ponder as you decide whether or not to have an induction at 40 weeks, or realistically, whenever it is offered in a healthy, low-risk pregnancy.

  • Keep in mind that this list may also apply during labor, when you may be “failing to progress” per the expected dilation measurements.  The Bradley Method® offers the possibility that your body might have a Natural Alignment Plateau while mama and baby make their last adjustments.  This period with no measurable dilation is often followed by an acceleration of labor and the birth – more about that HERE.

#1.  Physical alignment of the baby within the pelvis and in relation to the birth canal.  Babies like to move.  The time before labor starts can be used to encourage baby to get into an optimal position and possibly save you some work whilst in labor.  If you are in labor already, then the proper alignment is even more important for an uncomplicated second stage.

#2.  Softening of the cartilage in the mother’s pelvis.
  It is a moving part that can stretch to allow the passage for the baby inside of you.

#3.  Increasing the flexibility of the ligaments and tendons around the pelvis.
  They can also stretch to help ease baby through the birth canal.

#4.  Cartilage is softening and/or molding of the baby’s head to allow for passage through the birth canal.
  The baby may also be undergoing some adjustments for their passage into the world.

#5.  Colostrum is being made just for your baby.
  The time is being used for the breasts to form all the immunities necessary to protect the baby after they are born.

#6.  Baby may need more contractions to massage and stimulate the baby’s systems on-line. 
In pre-labor, Braxton-Hicks contractions are the “test drive” as mom and baby prepare for labor.  During labor, one of benefits of contractions is to help “wake up” all the baby’s systems in preparation for life outside the womb.

#7.  Lungs are preparing for breath of air by being coated in surfactant.
  Without enough surfactant, the baby cannot breath.  HERE is a study that found a link between lung readiness and stimulating factors for labor to start naturally.

#8.  Psychological changes for the mom.
  Has mom accepted the responsibility and dependence of this new life?  Is she in her safe place for labor to start and/or progress?

#9.  Psychological changes for the baby.
  Has the baby accepted that they will be an independent being outside of their mother’s body?  Do they feel like they are a part of your family?

#10.  Baby is growing.
  This one does not apply so much in labor.  However, Dr. Bradley gives a great reminder in his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth.  He reminds us that baby’s do not know about hard and fast rules.  He uses the analogy of an apple tree.  A few apples are going to ripen early and fall off early.  The majority of the apples will ripen together at the expected time during the harvest.  Finally, there will be several apples that for whatever unknown reason, ripen at the end of the harvest season, the bumper crop.

As in nature, babies arrive in a range.  Remember that the numbers, averages, are a collection of data that is analyzed to arrive at one “easy” number for planning purposes.  There is a real danger of "harvesting our apples" to soon, to the detriment of the baby’s health.  The March of Dimes has focused an entire campaign to discourage elective induction before 39 weeks since there were so many complications from inducing labor before babies were ready.  Get more information HERE

If your ovulation or conception dates are off, you might be inducing a baby to come who is before their gestational 39 weeks.  Then that child has been forced to arrive before they are ready, adding a host of complications to what might have been an uncomplicated process if it had been allowed to happen in nature’s time. 

I will end this post by asking you to consider two things:
  1. Take the time to read the information offered by Childbirth Connection on induction – and read ALL of it.  HERE is that link again.
  2. LISTEN to your care provider, which is why it is so super important to choose a provider you trust implicitly.  They are the expert in pregnancy and labor.  They have prior experience and training that leads them to make the recommendations they are making to you today.  If you know your care provider is using evidence-based practice, then you know that they are asking you to consider actions supported by research and probably not asking you to do something for their convenience.

You have an instinct to help guide you to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  That is what your care provider wants for you, too.  Whatever your path, making an informed decision and choosing a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome is a win-win every time.

When was your child(ren) born? 

If you want to have fun and participate in a VERY INFORMAL poll, please put your baby’s gestational arrival dates in the comments section.

Here are our babies:
Puma ~ 39 weeks, 4 days
Night Owl ~ 40 weeks – yes, right on his date!
Charger ~ 38 weeks
Otter ~ 38 weeks

Harvard Study Abstract:
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2342739

Childbirth Connection Induction Pages
  • http://childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10651

Lung Protein as Labor Signal

  • http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/news-releases/year-2004/fetal-lungs-provide-a-signal-initiating-labor-ut-southwestern-researchers-find.html

March of Dimes 39 Weeks Campaign
  • http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/getready_atleast39weeks.html 

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®.