The Birth Book (continued)

To see previous post, click here.

I got some more reading done this week.  I am still enjoying the book and am finding many enlightening quotes, helpful information, and feel that I am still learning something new every day in this process.

Sleep on your side.  During the last four to five months of your pregnancy, side-lying is the most comfortable position for mother and healthiest for baby.  To feather your nest in the third trimester, you will likely need at least four pillows, two under your head, one supporting your top leg, and perhaps another behind your lower back.  If you feel off-balance lying on your side, shift slightly onto your stomach by moving your top leg forward so it is completely off your lower leg, and let your abdomen snuggle into the mattress.”

I am a stomach sleeper and I “feathered my nest” for my entire second pregnancy.  It was the only position I could get any sleep in.  I thought that I was doing something wrong by sleeping this way and am glad to know that it really was okay the whole time!  Also, when my daughter turned to a transverse and then to a breech position, when I went to bed and attempted to “feather my nest,” this is when I could tell that she had changed positions … I could no longer sleep comfortably this way until I got her turned back around.

“Eleven Suggestions for Eating Right While Pregnant
1.  Make every calorie count.  Try these ten good nutrient-dense foods:  avocado, brown rice, plain low-fat yogurt, eggs, fish (be sure the fish don’t come from waters high in mercury), kidney beans, vegetables, tofu, turkey, and whole-grain pasta.”
2.  Choose fresh foods.
3.  Eating for two doesn’t mean eating double.  During pregnancy, women really only need an additional 300 calories.
4.  How your weight adds up.
5.  Extra food for extra growth.
6.  A message from baby to mother:  No crash diets – please!
7.  Graze while you grow.
8.  Pills don’t replace plates.
9.  Keep cravings under control.
10.  Pass the salt.
11.  Drink while you grow.

“Remember, historically in obstetrics, interventions have become common practice long before their usefulness or their safety has been proven.”  “There needs to be an ongoing system of checks and balances that keeps the technology used at birth in perspective:  reform-minded women questioning machine-minded doctors.”

I love that these words are coming from the mouths of a doctor and nurse.

“When the EFM [electronic fetal monitoring] cries wolf, the doctor has to do something, and that’s the crucial question underlying the use of all medical technology – what to do with the findings.  Is this just an unusual pattern, or is baby really in trouble?  Not being sure and not wanting to take chances, the hospital path from delivery room to operating room has become a road frequently traveled.  Shortly after EFM became part of the hospital birth package, cesarean-section rates doubled, yet babies didn’t turn out any better.”

“In other words, a specially trained nurse listening to the fetal heart tones with a hand-held device and recording her findings is as useful as continuous electronic fetal monitoring, even with the printout.  So after twenty years of tethering mothers to these machines and basing important decisions on their printouts, this wiry device has been proven to be no more useful (in uncomplicated labors) than human ears.”

“… when the reason for using a Doptone [a device that uses ultrasound to record baby’s heartbeat] was simply that it was more expedient for the doctor than the fetal stethoscope.  Mothers may not realize that the Doptone used in the obstetrician’s office to detect fetal heart tones emits a more concentrated beam of sound energy waves than the ultrasound scan that gives a picture of the whole baby even though the exposure to the whole baby is less.”

Wow!  I did not know this!

“In the United States, nearly every lay and professional birth organization and the FDA have come out against the routine use of ultrasound without clear indications.”

So, why are they still part of the ‘normal’ routine of prenatal care?

“Our hope is that doctor-directed births will be limited to women with special needs, and that obstetricians will focus on nourishing the natural rather than orchestrating the artificial.”

Again, so good to know that these words are coming from a doctor and nurse.

“Consider for a moment that women’s birth canals have been adequate for delivering babies since the beginning of womankind.  Why should they now be too small and need surgical enlarging?  As you travel east from the United States to England and on to the Netherlands, the incidence of routine episiotomy gets lower and lower, but it is unlikely that birth canals are larger in Europe.”

“… today’s obstetricians concentrate more effort on improving their episiotomy technique than they do in learning ways to avoid it.  And, of course, episiotomy is a surgical skill.  If women didn’t need episiotomies, they might not need the surgeon either.”

“… smaller tears that do occur heal more quickly and better (sometimes without any stitching) than the larger episiotomy incisions, which include more layers of muscle than most tears.  In midwife language, what nature cuts, nature heals.”  “… research suggests that it’s better to allow a few little tears than to make one big incision.  But even natural tears sometimes require stitches.  Women usually heal more quickly and experience less discomfort with their own tears than with an episiotomy.”

This book has a very in depth section regarding episiotomies.  It includes how the procedure is done, its complications and risks, the myths that are used to justify its use, and some episiotomy-sparing suggestions (perineal massage).

“If, as part of your birth plan negotiation with your doctor, you specify an ambulatory first stage, a squatting second stage, a vertical position for the birth, patient-controlled pushing (with instructions from your birth attendant on when to stop pushing), and no stirrups, you are less likely to end up with an episiotomy.”

“Try to avoid being overtested, lest you spend more time waiting for the outcome of tests than anticipating your baby.  Participate in the decision to have a specific test.  Ask why this test is necessary for your pregnancy.  “It’s routine” is not an acceptable answer.  Also, inquire whether the same information could be obtained in a less invasive way.”

This part of the book also includes a graph/chart listing tests, what they are for, and considerations for doing or not doing the test.  Definitely a source that I will be using in the future.

To see next post, click here.

~ by cmb0414 on April 8, 2010.

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