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What to Do When you are Overdue

  • Posted on August 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

What to Do When You’re Overdue

I am sharing this short and simple blog entry from Giving Birth with Confidence. I couldn’t say it better myself. BE PATIENT.
 
August 22, 2011 By Cara Terreri 1 Comment

40 weeks have come… and gone

As I write this, I am five days past my due date with my third baby. I’m no stranger to being “overdue.” With my last pregnancy, I gave birth five days after my estimated due date. I was lucky enough with my first to go into labor three days before being due. Despite the fact that a perfectly healthy pregnancy can last between 38 – 42 weeks,  we are so ingrained to hinge on the almighty 40 weeks “deadline.”

Here’s the reality: 40 weeks is an average time for pregnancy that is based on a date (last menstrual period or conception) that can be uncertain or inaccurate. The result is an estimate – not a deadline, expiration or delivery date. Your baby is not a FedEx package. And yet, women who go beyond the magical 40 weeks due date are made to feel like a pressure cooker. Well-meaning family and friends call, text and email to check in, asking questions like, “Are you still pregnant?!”; some care providers put women who are postdates on a time clock, often stripping membranes to jumpstart labor, performing a barrage of tests to check on baby and scheduling an induction date; and then there is the general discomfort and exhaustion that comes along with the end of a pregnancy that makes a woman feel like she is “so done” with pregnancy. With all of this pressure, even the most patient and informed woman becomes irritated, on edge and prone to doing whatever it takes to birth her baby.

Have you ever heard anyone say that children develop and hit milestones at different rates? The same is true for developing babies. Some may be ready for birth at 39 and-a-half weeks while others need an extra two weeks or more. Allowing baby to initiate birth helps ensure that he or she receives enough time to develop and mature. Contrary to what many believe, the last few weeks of pregnancy are not just for fattening baby up. Important organs, like the brain, lungs and liver, are still developing, as well as functions like sucking and swallowing. Interrupting these processes by scheduling an induction — unless there is true medical reason — can deprive baby of the time he or she needs to grow, and poses risks associated with induction.

So, what do you do when you’re overdue? Having been in this situation twice now, my best advice is to stop waiting around. Sitting around, jumping at every little twinge, ache or contraction, waiting for labor to begin will do nothing but drive you absolutely crazy! If you’re physically able, schedule something to do every day for three days straight. Make dinner plans, get a pedicure, see a movie, visit a friend, make freezer meals — you get the idea. If you come to the end of those three days and baby is still cooking, schedule the next three days. Having something to look forward to besides the birth of your baby will help pass the time and keep your mind occupied. And when you encounter the questions, comments and suggestions from others about your overdue-ness, smile and say something like, “Just like a cake, baking times may vary.”

BREATHING: EXPLORE, TEACH, & PRACTICE, practice, practice, practice, practice

  • Posted on April 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Conscious breathing has always been the basis for dealing with labor pain. There are a number of different birthing strategies that are taught now, and they all base their techniques on breathing, whether it is for relaxation, concentration, distraction, meditation or hypnotic effect.  Holding one’s breath is a typical reaction to pain, anticipated pain and sometimes stress. Rhythmic breath promotes concentration, relaxation and promotes pain relief.  However, during the process of birth’s variations and challenges, these benefits of breathing are best utilized if the breathing is well understood and comes easily to you and your support people. Without the ability to just move into a practiced behavior, you can become confused, ineffective at pain relief and possibly more stressed.

Women who practice a variety of breathing techniques and patterns to a level of high comfort and conditioning will benefit best from any breathing. What breathing looks like and how many different types of breath are used is far less important than you having a repertoire of practiced, breath-related coping skills to draw upon during birth. The best Lamaze class includes the exposure and in-class practice of a number of different styles of breathing. These types of breathing should include deep, slow and shallow, fast styles. The uses and benefits should be explored and at-home trial and practice insisted upon. In order to utilize these technique under the stress of labor, you need to condition yourself through practice, so you can comfortably move from one to another if needed through the course of birth.

So many childbirth classes of today overshadow the calming skills, including breathing, with discussion of medical procedures and complications of birth. No time is left for the real teaching and practice of coping techniques. A quality Lamaze class will teach and support practice of progressive breathing styles  during a series of at least 5 sessions.  You and your support person will learn, try out at home and return to class to reinforce all styles so as to select those to continue to practice for your own labor. With this level of emphasis, hopefully you will commit to practice, knowing it will make a better birth outcome.

I have gained my own selection of breathing styles to teach, through the practice and study of many different disciplines. I utilize breath techniques from my training from Lamaze, hypnosis, yoga, meditation/relaxation and more . Breathing does not stand alone as a labor coping skill. It is, however, the basis of and promotes the benefits of all others.  If you have the opportunity to explore breathing for labor, you should adopt a variety and practice them until you can execute them comfortably without much concentration. They will serve you well in labor.

THE EPIDURAL QUESTION: Yes, No, Maybe?

  • Posted on March 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

Since the continuous epidural and the continuous fetal monitor came on the scene 30 years ago, birthing in hospitals has changed at worst from women (nurses) supporting birthing women, at their side, using proven a miriad of comfort measures,  to staff  “monitoring” a birthing woman’s progress based on mechanical, electonic data….from another room yet. At best we are frightening generations of women into thinking they need to be numb and incapacitated in order to make their passage into motherhood.  So “Maybe” is a good way to go.  The epidural has been too universally accepted as OK for everyone, yet it doesn’t always work and opens the doors to more, often avoidable medical interventions. The terrific Blog called Birth with Confidence is running a series of entries on the goods and bads of epidurals by a very qualified medical professional: Dr. Michael Klein. Every woman should be fully aware of what she is accepting for herself and her baby, when accepting an epidural. With work and reframing your vision of birth in advance of birth this “Maybe” can turn into a “No” for you. Birthing women….you are just having a baby…..not embarking on a major medical procedure…unless that is what you want…. Read this first Blog entry: Epidurals: Food for Thought.  If you want more information go to Childbirth Connection and view their information on ‘Labor Pain’ . Then look at all of your alternatives for Empowering, Positive, Support for Birth.

Using Movement for Labor

  • Posted on March 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I love it when a woman utilizes so many simple, but essential, changes in movement for labor.  Movement in Labor is key to success and satisfaction in Labor. It is one of the Lamaze Health Birth Practices and written about in all normal birthing literature, yet free movement in labor is still not supported and encouraged nearly as much as it should in our hospitals. Most every picture or video or other example of birth in the media shows a woman in bed for birth.  Nearly everything done in the hospital leads to non movement. This is not good for so many reasons.  The following is a great description of one woman’s use of movement for her second, but VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) birth. She shares how she used different possitioning and supports each selection with its benefits. I could not have said it better myself.  Read about  How One Mom Moved and Grooved Through Labor.

QUALITY BIRTH CLASSES IN SY VALLEY

  • Posted on January 21, 2011 at 10:50 am
Independent Lamaze instructor with Lamaze born baby

LynDee and Granddaughter Aspen

Welcome to my Blog. I hope to connect with local pregnant women and couples to offer information and support at this very special time of their lives!
The future Moms of SY Valley no longer have to drive out of the Valley to attend the quality education they deserve and desire. Since babies are not delivered at Santa Ynez Hospital, prospective mothers travel to Santa Maria, Lompoc or Santa Barbara for prenatal education provided by a hospital. Often they choose a one day, highly inferior class to avoid weekly drives at night. Or they take a class by an instructor who focuses primarily on hospital, physician and staff procedures rather than on birth. This doesn’t really prepare women for what birthing is really like and how they can help and deal with birthing sensations, no matter what kind of birth they think they want. My classes offer the quality and diversified, detailed instruction offered only by an independent, certified educator.
It is time to meet locally, learn objectively and trust birth for the extraordinary, powerful experience that it is.
Everyone should be sure to log onto www.childbirthconnection.com and read articles of greatest interest to you. This is a fine and reliable resource.
Keep checking back to this Blog for information and discussion on current birthing practices and recommendations.