Full Term?

I recently overheard a conversation in which one mother was encouraging another mother to induce at 38 weeks. She stated that 38 was full term and no one should have to go longer. I realize that this woman was just relaying what she had been told, and even I considered self-induction at week 38 :), but it is time that we learn to leave our bodies and babies be. In cases of pre-eclampsia and such, induction is sometimes needed…but for normal, healthy pregnancies to end with early induction can do harm.  Here is a  great blog on the subject:

“The brain grows rapidly between 38 and 41 weeks gestation: gray matter increases nearly 50%,  and myelinated white matter triples as the brain increases in complexity. It’s not surprising that being born even two or three weeks early might negatively impact some babies.”

http://marksloanmd.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/a-closer-look-at-term-birth/

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A New Medication

If I told you today about a new medication that would reduce fetal asphyxia by 2/3, cut labor length by 1/2 and enhance mother-infant interaction after delivery, I expect there would be a stampede to obtain this medication, no matter what the cost. Just because the supportive companion (Doula) makes common sense does not decrease its importance.

— John Kennel, author of Birth, Interaction and Attachment

Unwritten Rule # 287 and the T-shirt

The  pregnant belly has a strange effect on society. The average passer-by sees it as a personal blog  or social network of some sort. It has become some kind of  unwritten rule in our culture.

Unwritten rule #287

If one sees a pregnant woman in a social setting of any kind, one must approach sed woman and proceed to do the following:

1. Pretend she knows who you are and cares what you think.

2. Preface all comments with, “This probably won’t happen to you, but…” or “Don’t try to be Superwoman…” or “Make sure you get that epidural right away…” If you live in the South you could also use, “Bless your big, fat, pregnant heart…”

3. Vent all pinned up anger, regret, and disappointment concerning your own birth(s) onto sed woman in 60 sec or less.

4. After doing so, walk away and murmur something like, “That woman is one egg shy of a dozen.”

This unwritten rule is why the majority of my work is prior to the birthing day.  My clients face this kind of kamikaze commenting where ever they go and many times it is in the OB’s office.

This unwritten rule is partly why so many women fear birth. All mothers know that if you teach your little boy that he can’t climb trees because it is too hard, too dangerous, and possibly life threatening…he will never climb a tree and after a few generations, the fear of climbing trees will be hard-wired and there will be no tree climbing boys.  A little dramatic I know! And that’s what we have here…a generational, hard-wired fear of birth.

I am considering printing up maternity T-shirts that say:

“Fear not, it will come out.”

“I will survive.”

What would you put on your T-shirt?

masculinisation of the birth environment

Is this masculinisation of the birth environment the main factor why today, at a planetary level, the number of women who deliver babies and placentas thanks only to the release of natural hormones is approaching zero?

I thought this was a very interesting article. Although I don’t agree with his evolutionary stance, he has some great info and stats on his website.

Monkey Business

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is one of my favorite reads on birth thus far. One of the chapters talks about how helpful it is to release your inhibitions and “let your monkey do it”. Immediately the phrase, What would your monkey do? came to mind! She makes an evolutionary connection here, which isn’t my point, stating that we are not far from our monkey friends and they are not held back by anxiety and fears during birth. In observing monkeys during labor, they seem to let their bodies just do the job…no big deal.
How odd it is that most of our soon to be mothers have never witnessed such normalcy in animals or humans. Oh, it’s time for my baby to come, let me find a nice cozy spot and give birth. Rather, they watch extreme birth mania on TV and hear the horror stories of new mothers who have been properly processed by our medical system.

Many like Ina May, have devoted their lives to educating women about their amazing bodies. Yes, our bodies were made to give birth…they can do it. And yes, our breast were made for suckling babes…they make milk. For so many years we have been told, you’re too small, those are too big, it’s too painful, babies wreck your body….and on and on.

Is it possible that if young ladies were given a positive picture of birth, that they might have a beautiful birth?  Most likely. And that’s why we doulas, midwives, and the like are starting to get into this monkey business. Hopefully, one day enough women will see that birth is beautiful, natural, and quite possibly the most wonderful thing a woman will ever do.

Doula/Doulas

The word doula originates from the Greek meaning servant woman. Here in the US, the term has more appeal. Women are turning to alternative resources for health and specifically birth.  As the natural birth banner is raised, women seem to be flocking to doulas and midwives, in hope of a beautiful birth experience. Doulas represent a new hope for many expectant moms, by providing education, comfort measures, and encouragement.