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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Planning Your Birth Team

Creating a positive birth experience starts with a good support team.

Nothing influences your birth more than your birth team. The people you have with you will forever shape your memory of the birth of your child.

Research shows that continuous support during labor can reduce complications, lower the risk of cesareans as well decrease the need for pain medication. A good support team can promote bonding, lead to an easier recovery, support successful breastfeeding, and improve your birth experience. Who doesn’t want that?!

Here’s a couple of tips and tricks to creating an awesome team of support for your baby’s big arrival. 

Location of Birth

Home, Hospital, or Birthing Center? Tour your local facilities, get a feel for the energy and the resources available at each location. Where do you feel comfortable? Where do you feel supported? Where would you feel safe? Studies have shown that birth at home or in a birth center with a Midwife in attendance is as safe as birthing in a hospital when the mother is low risk and there is a plan for transfer should complications arise.  Each location has it’s own risks and, it’s up to you to decide where is right for you and your baby!

Care Provider

Choosing a provider who shares a similar philosophy about birth is important, but more important, is a provider who will respect your choices, regardless of it he or she would make the same decisions. Your care provider will be guiding you in your care, you want to know that that guidance is going to support your desires. If you choose a Midwife, your Midwife will provide you with complete, comprehensive care for your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. She will support your birth plan and encourage you as the primary decision maker in your care while providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions.

Doula

Doulas are an excellent addition to any birth and postpartum support team! They provide emotional support, help with physical comfort, and can serve as a liaison to promote communication between you and the rest of your birth team. Doulas fill in if partners are not able to attend or aren’t involved. Postpartum doulas provide in home support to you and your family. Whether for birth or postpartum, doulas customize their care to support your needs. Ask your care provider for referrals to doulas in your area.

Partner

 Attending Childbirth Classes and prenatal visits together, reading books, watching videos, and talking about birth will help you both prepare for the birth of your child. It’s good for you both to have realistic expectations and enough support for each of you. The day your child is born, is a day you both will remember for the rest of your lives!

While birth can be a team effort, you are most certainly the star, and should have all the support you need.  A written birth plan can be an effective tool to communicate your desires and expectations effectively to your partner and the rest of your team. Together, you and your birth team can welcome your baby into the world with love and joy!

Lowering the Risks of Interventions During Birth

Childbirth is a collaborative effort.

As the different elements of the process work harmoniously, there is often a safer and more productive outcome. Compassionate emotional support and comfort measures hold the power to dramatically reduce certain birth risks and even surgical interventions. The birth community is now publishing more research on the benefits of birth support and how a strong support system can actually affect your birth experience in a positive way.

What’s the verdict?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has published their research on birth support and how midwives are making strides by improving the birth experience nationwide. After establishing that a woman is low-risk, she may benefit from less medical intervention that could prove stressful for her or her baby during labor.

In this research they have also identified that it’s not all about experiencing less pain.

With an epidural alone, mothers might feel less physical pain but can still be significantly affected by anxiety and birth trauma without access to a support system. Continuous emotional support, affirmations and comfort measures have been shown to dramatically shorten the duration of labor and lower the risk for operative deliveries.

When midwives, medical staff, and doulas work cooperatively with a woman in labor, they are able to focus attention on empowering them through the experience and finding natural ways to comfort and encourage the progression of birth safely. Changing positions, massage, intermittent fetal heart rate monitoring and pushing at the mother’s comfortable pace reduces cesarean risks and can also reduce birth trauma and stress during birth.

This is important news for babies to be.

As hospitals and birth centers shift toward this holistic way of thinking, it normalizes birth practices that shy away from medical interventions and pain management. Acknowledging the importance of a strong support system in the birth space will empower women to make their own decisions for their baby’s birth and create a birth plan that is more attune to their specific needs.

When you have a carefully assembled team in place, you can feel confident that you’re receiving all the attention and care you want and nothing you don’t, without compromising safety.

A strong support system matters!

As you prepare for birth, assembling your support system is just as important as deciding your birth preferences. Talk to your care provider, your birth center, and birth support professionals about your options and resources that will customize your birth experience to it’s fullest potential.

Real Fitness for Real Moms

Whether you’re expecting or just welcomed your new baby, a little fitness worked into your daily routine is a good thing.

Most women think that fitness is a strict gym routine of cardio and weightlifting and that type of environment can be anything but motivating and simply out of the question when you’re a new mom. If you’re looking to be healthier during your pregnancy or just after having a baby you can incorporate a great work out in fun and easy ways.

Squat!

There’s no denying the power of squats. If you’re trying to give yourself a lift, working a series of squats into your day will tone your legs and lift your hiney. Squats can also strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy and make to make your labor a faster process and jump start your postpartum recovery. Do 5 to 10 squats after using the bathroom, during commercials, or on the hour and before you know it, you’ll have hundreds done each day. Cleaning up after kids? Do some squats while you’re picking up toys and clutter. Before you know it, you’ll have established an awesome workout routine.

Lunges

Lunges do some amazing things for your legs. If you’re pregnant, these not only help strengthen your pelvic floor but also improve circulation and alleviate swelling. While doing some lunges, you’re strengthening your core and lower body. When recovering postpartum, core strengthening exercises help retrain the muscles and avoid injuries. Lunges are easy to do around the house, when you walk from room to room do 5 to 10 lunges. If you’re baby wearing, you’re adding some weight to your workout! Be careful with lunges while you’re pregnant, as it can be easy to lose your balance.

Stroller Workout

A walk around the block or through the park is a great way to get some fresh air, stretch your legs and give your baby a change of scenery. Pushing a stroller even adds some additional weight to your workout. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous gym visit to get an amazing workout into your daily routine. Make the most of your workout by paying attention to your posture and your breathing. Team up with other moms in your neighborhood to empower them to get up and moving!

One of our childbirth educators, Alisha, leads a walking group two times per week called Mama Movement. This is an awesome opportunity for families in our area to socialize and practice a healthy exercise regimen.

Getting back into a workout routine is easier than you think.

It only takes a few minutes each day to get some valuable activity into your busy day. A body in motion stays in motion, and whether you’re pregnant or postpartum, you can benefit from some extra activity.

Listen to your body. Know your limits. Start slow.

Find a workout routine that works for you and always keep the safety of you and your family at the front of your mind.

 

Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed cord clamping isn’t a new process and has been part of Birthways Family Birth Center standard of care for as long as we’ve been welcoming babies.

In practice, we typically wait until the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating and often until after the placenta is born to clamp and cut the cord. At our center, the clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord is left to the discretion of the mother when no medical complications are presented.

The clamping and severing of the umbilical cord is considered to be a spiritual and sacred process in many cultures, encouraging the medical community to research the positive and negative effects of delayed cord clamping. Recently, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have published an official scholarly recommendation to delay the clamping of an umbilical cord at least 30-60 seconds after birth. While this doesn’t seem like a long time, it is longer than immediate cutting and has been shown to have positive benefits.

This recommendation is slowly but surely raising the standard for delayed clamping, providing newborns with a multitude of benefits at birth and later development.

ACOG Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping

While preterm infants may benefit the most from delayed cord clamping, all infants can benefit both physically and developmentally at birth and the first few months postpartum. Some of these incredible benefits include improved transitional circulation,increased red blood cell volume as well as decreased risk of brain hemorrhaging and iron deficiency in the first year.

Because iron deficiency has been linked to impaired cognitive development, delayed clamping can improve the cognitive, motor and behavioral development of infants in their first year. This can make it easier to reach developmental milestones and help infants establish stronger mental and emotional connections.

Known Drawbacks

The only notable drawbacks that coincide with delayed cord clamping are the yield of cord blood if the parents are choosing to bank. Cord blood banking agencies require a minimum volume of cord blood and the delayed clamping results in less blood to meet this criteria. Each birth is different and in some cases, delaying the clamping doesn’t create a problem for banking. This can be considered a minor setback, as the health benefits in this case dramatically outweigh any negatives.

Preferences

Each family has their own beliefs and cultural lens when it comes to their birth decisions and cord clamping. Some choose lotus birthing in which the placenta remains attached until it naturally separates from the infant, usually after a few days. Other parents choose more traditional methods of severing the cord like cord burning. 

After ACOG published their research on delayed clamping, standards of care have begun to change for the better.

Although delayed cord clamping has always been an important part of our philosophy, we firmly believe it remains at the discretion of parents. However, this will hopefully change the perception of delayed cord clamping in hospitals and birthing centers across the board as more parents and practitioners familiarize themselves with the undeniable health benefits for newborns.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

“There’s no use crying over spilled milk.”

A mantra for the breastfeeding mother.

In honor of Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day we’ve decided to share some valuable words of wisdom to all the breastfeeding mothers out there that have definitely cried over spilled milk. Adjusting to a breastfeeding routine can be challenging for any mom and spilled milk definitely feels like a tragedy when you’re just getting the hang of it.

Pumping breast milk can be a challenge in itself and any milk that goes to waste can be traumatizing for women who are experiencing a low milk supply or even moms feeling stressed their baby isn’t eating enough. 

We want to assure you, it’s all going to be okay.

Whether you’ve knocked over some precious ounces of freshly pumped breast milk or accidentally let some expire, you’ve definitely had a moment of breastfeeding-induced anxiety. No matter what, it’s going to be fine and work itself out. Even if that feels impossible. Whenever things get tough, seize the opportunity to build yourself up. 

You are incredible.

Do you know how incredible it is to not only make a firm decision about your parenting style but to stick it through? That’s amazing. Not to mention it’s astonishing how your body can build a human from scratch and produce food for that small person to live! If you ask us, you’re already too amazing to feel let down over some spilled milk. 

It might be tough, and you’re entitled to a few bad days but it’s important to look on the bright side. Motherhood, parenting, breastfeeding and pumping won’t go according to plan, that much we can tell you for certain. Learn to laugh at the bumps in the road, celebrate the small triumphs you make every day and learn to let go of the mini mistakes that aren’t failures.

When you’re a mom, there’s no such thing as a failure. Only obstacles.

To help you through the days that feel a little tough or beat up your self esteem, we came up with some tips and tricks for pumping that will make your life a whole lot easier.

  • Follow a pumping routine and feeding schedule.
  • Drink plenty of water before you pump.
  • Hold your baby, look at a photo or something that smells like them. This triggers hormones that help you produce more milk.
  • Pump as often as your baby nurses.
  • Pump early in the morning when your breasts are the most full.
  • Pump from opposite breast as your baby nurses.
  • Make sure your pump is as comfortable as possible. Not all pumps are created equal.

Fill your day with affirmations that you’re a breastfeeding pro and everything else will fall into place.

Some days you might feel like breastfeeding isn’t working out, but don’t get impatient. No one becomes a professional overnight and with anything, breastfeeding and pumping take some practice.

With a strong support system and self determination in place, you can conquer your breastfeeding goals and say goodbye to the days of crying over spilled milk.

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