birth

Pregnancy Pathway, Birth — Birth Mode

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The Sec­ond Stage of Birth is dif­fer­ent from the First Stage. The actu­al expul­sion of the baby requires a change in ener­gy axis. Dur­ing dila­tion (first stage), oxy­tocin is most eas­i­ly released from the pitu­itary gland dur­ing relax­ation (see pre­vi­ous post), but dur­ing tran­si­tion, a change occurs so that the ergotrop­ic response takes over and adren­a­line is key in help­ing oxy­tocin to spike.

What does this mean as far as prepa­ra­tion is con­cerned? While it is impor­tant to learn to relax or main­tain posi­tions such as one does in yoga, the abil­i­ty to sprint, or turn on an aggres­sive action at the end, is crit­i­cal. You need  good aer­o­bic con­di­tion­ing. Begin exer­cise with easy breath­ing and move­ment, then prac­tice aer­o­bic endurance and pow­er moves at the end of your work­out! Fin­ish up with cool down and stretch­ing.

The con­trac­tions them­selves change. They remain intense for a longer stretch, but the time between them increas­es. Push­ing involves not only the uterus con­tract­ing, but the pres­sure exert­ed by the trans­verse abdom­i­nal (TrA) mus­cle. Sim­i­lar to squeez­ing a tube of tooth­paste, TrA pres­sure helps press the baby toward the exit — yes, that is the vagi­nal open­ing. If the labor­ing moth­er is not able to apply ade­quate pres­sure, labor assis­tants some­times apply pres­sure man­u­al­ly to the top of the uterus or — if need be — for­ceps or a vac­u­um extrac­tion may be nec­es­sary.

How can a mom best pre­pare so that the TrA can pro­vide the need­ed pres­sure? Strength train­ing the TrA! Like any oth­er motion requir­ing pow­er strength, this mus­cle can be strength­ened to do its job! Here’s how:

pic­ture 1:  sit upright, inhale

pic­ture 2:  exhale, com­press abdomen and curl down

Return to upright and repeat 8 times. Rest. Repeat 8 more times.

What if some­thing goes awry? Cesare­an, or sur­gi­cal birth is an alter­na­tive. Major com­pli­ca­tions before labor include a pla­cen­ta pre­via, infec­tion or unde­liv­er­able breech posi­tion. Dur­ing labor, the most com­mon prob­lem is dys­to­cia — stalled progress through dila­tion (first stage) or push­ing (sec­ond stage). In the push­ing stage, head to large for pelvis is the most com­mon dif­fi­cul­ty.

What hap­pens next? If the birth is nat­ur­al, you will feel a tremen­dous eupho­ria. Bring the baby right up onto your chest for skin-to-skin con­tact. If you have had med­ica­tions, your response may be slight­ly blunt­ed, but you will def­i­nite­ly be over­whelmed by the emo­tions of birth.

Third Stage is expul­sion of the pla­cen­ta, which can no long remain con­nect­ed to the shrink­ing uterus. When it detach­es, the nurs­es or mid­wives will ask you to push and !plop! out it comes. It can be inter­est­ing to see what has nour­ished your baby for so long!

CONGRATULATIONS!  YOU’RE A MOM!

Pregnancy Pathway, Birth — Labor

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The First Stage of Child­birth is the long, hard labor. It is the slow process that pro­duces dila­tion, or open­ing, of the cervix — the “neck” or out­let at the bot­tom of the uterus. Once the baby’s head can fit through the open cervix, it is time for the Sec­ond Stage, but that is anoth­er top­ic for anoth­er post.

Labor is generally a long, slow process...there is no "enter" button for dilation!

Labor is gen­er­al­ly a long, slow process…there is no “enter” but­ton for dila­tion!

Before the baby can leave the mother’s body, s/he must leave the uterus. The open­ing of the cervix to let the baby out of the uterus gen­er­al­ly takes up the most time. For a first time mom it can be 10 or 12 hours…or, yes, a cou­ple of days. Of course, for some moms, this time is dif­fi­cult and for oth­ers it only becomes dif­fi­cult in the last few hours.

But, you know all this, right? What you want to know is:  Why do I have to go through this? And, if I must, how can I make it the least painful?

Why labor is impor­tant. Let’s go to anoth­er ques­tion:  How impor­tant would your off­spring be if it was no big deal to drop one out? If you were walk­ing along the side­walk and you could sim­ply drop a new­born on the pave­ment, would you even stop to pick it up if you could do it again in a few days, when, of course, it will be much more con­ve­nient?

Frankly, preg­nan­cy and labor remind us to pay atten­tion. A new­born can­not sur­vive on its own for at least two years. If we don’t pay atten­tion, it will die.

Okay, now that labor has your atten­tion, what else does it do that is ben­e­fi­cial? It stim­u­lates the baby’s stress response and teach­es the new­born to be alert dur­ing sit­u­a­tions of duress. Each con­trac­tion is pulling the cervix, help­ing it slow­ly open. If you are upright, each con­trac­tion is also alert­ing the baby to the influ­ence of grav­i­ty.

Why is labor painful? So, you need to go through this because it is the bridge from preg­nan­cy to par­ent­hood. Why does it have to be painful?

The first thing to keep in mind about pain is that pain is a com­bi­na­tion of sen­sa­tions and emo­tion, main­ly fear. Fear makes you tense; ten­sion reduces blood flow. Reduced blood flow to the uterus makes the con­trac­tions less effec­tive. In addi­tion, cor­ti­sol is released, mak­ing sen­sa­tions stronger and evok­ing greater fear.

Fear is the emo­tion of fight or flight. Inter­est­ing­ly, the oppo­site response, the relax­ation response, is very effec­tive in pro­mot­ing labor. So, relax. Breathe deeply and slow­ly, focus, move through the cen­ter of your expe­ri­ence. You don’t have to be in fear if you know what is hap­pen­ing and if you are phys­i­cal­ly fit and pre­pared. Both child­birth edu­ca­tion and phys­i­cal fit­ness teach your body to work with dis­com­fort. By includ­ing them in your prepa­ra­tion, you give your­self a tremen­dous advan­tage.

Does this mean you will nev­er feel like you want to stop in the mid­dle of labor? No, but it does mean you can do it. It is finite. The notion that the baby will not do well is also tied to your phys­i­cal fit­ness…babies of fit moth­ers less often expe­ri­ence fetal dis­tress. Your care providers will let you know if there is some fac­tor beyond your con­trol that requires med­ical inter­ven­tion.

Birth is an empow­er­ing event. But, before the baby can be born, it must escape the uterus. It is a clas­sic con­flict and the mother’s body is the venue. Give your­self over; go with it. Only women can do this.

Pregnancy Pathway, Birth

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There is no birth of con­scious­ness with­out pain.

Birth is a process with two major components

Birth is a life process with two major com­po­nents

Okay, be here now:  This is about a real­ly major experience…bringing human con­scious­ness into the world…opening a door to a room of love in your heart that you can only know by giv­ing birth to this person…changing your iden­ti­ty for­ev­er.

Get­ting your mind around the image: If you have not tak­en the time yet to get your mind around this, take a moment. Breathe in deeply. Gen­tly blow the air out. Repeat. Repeat. Let go of any resis­tance. Slow your heart. Slow your mind. Con­sid­er:  Your body has the pow­er to cre­ate a per­son. Your body has the pow­er to expel this per­son when the rent is up.

Your brain, glands and organs are hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with the baby’s brains, glands and organs. At some point, this dis­cus­sion reach­es a place where it is time to end this arrange­ment of two peo­ple shar­ing one body. It is true that occa­sion­al­ly the pas­sen­ger doesn’t want to leave, but that is rare. And, we have a rem­e­dy for that. Let’s just focus now on the what hap­pens when it’s time to go.

Labor starts how? Well, it depends. Some­times con­trac­tions start in fits and spurts and take a while to get orga­nized. Some­times they start strong­ly from the get go, and for oth­ers the process of get­ting rolling can take a few days. Some­times it starts ear­ly, and some­times has to be helped to start. Once in a while, the water breaks and labor starts…or not. So, the first les­son of hav­ing a child come to live with you is that you need to be flex­i­ble in your expec­ta­tions.

In the next two posts, we’ll cov­er Labor and then the Birth Mode. Each of these process­es is unique. They involve dif­fer­ent ener­gy sys­tems. They require dif­fer­ent mind-sets from the moth­er and her sup­port team. The out­comes are dif­fer­ent. Going through the cen­ter of these process­es helps you deal with them, helps you recov­er from their stren­u­ous nature and helps you move on to being a par­ent.

Remem­ber: Breathe in deeply. Gen­tly blow the air out. Repeat. Repeat. Let go of any resis­tance. Slow your heart. Slow your mind. Con­sid­er:  Your body has the pow­er to cre­ate a per­son. Your body has the pow­er to expel this per­son when the rent is up.

Pregnancy Pathway — Review and Labor begins!

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Just to let read­ers know where we are on the preg­nan­cy path­way, here is the large graph­ic. We have just fin­ished Preg­nan­cy and are get­ting ready for Birth. Labor is beginning…are you tim­ing those con­trac­tions?!! If you have want to review any of the con­tent pri­or to Birth, you can scroll down and find an entry for each bub­ble. Or, use the Search Top­ics tool on the right side bar for a faster find.

So far, the blog has covered through Pregnancy; next Birth (purple)

So far, the blog has cov­ered through Preg­nan­cy; next Birth (pur­ple)

Worthy Global Human Endeavors

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There are only two tru­ly wor­thy glob­al human endeav­ors:

1. Humane Birthing. Find out more from the White Rib­bon Alliance for Safe Moth­er­hood.

2. Space Explo­ration. Find out more from the Augus­tine Com­mis­sion.

Pass it on.

If you are not yet con­vinced about the glob­al need for humane care for preg­nant and birthing women, google (or bing, or yahoo…) “fis­tu­la.” If you want more first world infor­ma­tion, com­pare med­ical birth with what’s on YouTube; while these two approach­es to birth are at odds in con­tem­po­rary med­i­cine, in a humane set­ting they are both nec­es­sary.

As for space, let me para­phrase Craig Nelson’s notion:  In time, the Earth will per­ish. This is noth­ing you need to lose sleep over. It will be a long, long time before this hap­pens. But, we need to start now to pre­pare. In time, the Earth will per­ish, and we will need to be some­where else when that hap­pens.

These two things will reap all the rewards that need be reaped. The enabling of safe moth­er­hood and our move­ment into space are the only things that ensure human sur­vival.

Rant: Health Care Reform/Pregnancy

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Since Health Care Reform is a hot top­ic, let’s look at it from the per­spec­tive of preg­nan­cy and birth.

What revi­sions would most ben­e­fit preg­nant women, their off­spring, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties?

1. Reward healthy behav­iors. A sys­tem that pro­vides reduced pre­mi­ums for health care for women who exer­cise, eat well, do not smoke and are in a nor­mal weight range is evi­dence-based.

Yes! We could pro­vide finan­cial incen­tives for being healthy dur­ing preg­nan­cy. Why? Healthy moms have healthy babies; healthy babies cost the pay­er less mon­ey.

2. Review best prac­tices. Is a 40 or 50% cesare­an rate the best prac­tice?  Accom­pa­ny­ing the rise in cesare­an births is grow­ing infor­ma­tion that babies born by cesare­an are at increased risk for a num­ber of immune dis­or­ders. But the busi­ness mod­el of med­i­cine rewards cesare­an because it both pays the provider more and is defen­sive med­ical prac­tice.

Fetal mon­i­tor­ing to deter­mine if a cesare­an may be nec­es­sary, is wrong 3/4 of the time. In an effort to change this, guide­lines are chang­ing for the use of mon­i­tors dur­ing labor. What is the evi­dence that this change of prac­tice is ben­e­fi­cial? Will it lead to more or less mon­i­tor­ing, which may itself be an inter­ven­tion that can dis­rupt nor­mal labor?

3. Change the busi­ness mod­el for health care. When we make finan­cial incen­tives for care providers, base them on best prac­tice, not on enrich­ing the mid­dle man. Cur­rent­ly the pay­ers (insur­ance com­pa­nies) are mid­dle men, mak­ing mon­ey (i.e., con­duct­ing busi­ness) by charg­ing fees. They ration pay­ments for ser­vices in order to pay their own salaries and over­head. They do not actu­al­ly do any­thing pro­duc­tive. This is why sin­gle pay­er, gov­ern­ment, and health care coop options have been pro­posed. They elim­i­nate most of the cum­ber­some mid­dle lay­er.

Why does insur­ance pay for cesare­ans? Well, they will do it once. After all, the care providers have to prac­tice defen­sive med­i­cine. But, once you have a cesare­an, you become a risk for the insur­ance com­pa­ny (they know what the research says about cesare­ans and off­spring health prob­lems) and may be denied insur­ance. They can no longer afford you.

Because care providers are paid fee for ser­vice and must prac­tice defen­sive med­i­cine, preg­nan­cy and birth have become increas­ing­ly bur­dened with inter­ven­ing pro­ce­dures that do not nec­es­sar­i­ly pro­mote a healthy preg­nan­cy or birth process. How is this play­ing out? Increas­ing­ly, we see women giv­ing birth in what they per­ceive as a more sup­port­ive and health-induc­ing set­ting:  their own homes. Think of it this way:  many women now believe that it is safer to stay home than go to a hos­pi­tal to give birth.

Unless health care becomes about best prac­tices and healthy out­comes — not price, size, and get­ting paid for pass­ing mon­ey back and forth — the U.S. will con­tin­ue to have some of the worst maternal/infant out­comes in the devel­oped world.

Pregnancy Pathway, Pregnancy

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Time for an entre: Preg­nan­cy!!

Up for dis­cus­sion…

Health Influences in Pregnancy

Health Influ­ences in Preg­nan­cy

Let’s start at the begin­ning…in the first trimester you feel sick and tired, right? Three things:

1) your immune sys­tem is pro-inflam­ma­to­ry (caus­ing nau­sea and fatigue), 2) your body is pro­tect­ing your fetus from some tox­ins (if you eat some­thing not so great for the fetus, you throw up), and 3) you have extreme swings in blood sug­ar lev­els so that after you eat, the lev­el soars and you feel sick.

Num­ber 3 can be fixed with behav­ior, but you may have to wait out 1 & 2. To fix num­ber 3 eat very small meals fre­quent­ly (6 or 8 times a day) and be sure to eat pro­tein, that is, eggs, meat, fish, fowl, cheese, nuts, rice & beans, soy, etc. with each small meal. This sta­bi­lizes blood sug­ar and pre­vents dra­mat­ic ele­va­tions that can cause nau­sea.

In most healthy preg­nan­cies, the immune sys­tem will rebound in the sec­ond trimester so that you feel good; it is pro­tect­ing you again!  But, those wicked tox­ins and infec­tions are still out there in the envi­ron­ment, so the mes­sage is beware bad air (smog, smok­ing, indus­tri­al air pol­lu­tion), high­ly processed foods (lunch­meats, things with names you can’t pro­nounce), any drugs or meds not pre­scribed or okayed by your ob or mid­wife, alco­hol, and dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria, virus­es and oth­er microbes!

Exer­cise wisely…no sky-div­ing or scu­ba div­ing! Eat healthy food and get enough sleep. De-stress through relax­ation and med­i­ta­tive tech­niques. Don’t take risks with your health, but do stay active and start to pre­pare for birth and bring­ing home a baby (or two?).

Third trimester & the immune sys­tem goes on the fritz again — can’t keep this baby in here for­ev­er; must expel! You may feel sick and tired again. BUT, keep your pre­na­tal care appoint­ments, keep mov­ing, get good nutri­tion, rest and stay focused. Before you know it the real work begins, not to men­tion the 18 years of sleep depri­va­tion.

Get­ting from here…

Being Fully Present in Your Pregnancy...

Being Ful­ly Present in Your Preg­nan­cy…

…to here..

Being Fully Present as Mom

Being Ful­ly Present as Mom.

…is a jour­ney like no oth­er. The adap­ta­tions of your body to the demands of preg­nan­cy are amaz­ing. If you pay atten­tion, you will learn more about the mean­ing of exis­tence from this than from any­thing else.

BE HERE NOW!!

Sign up for this Blog (top tool­bar, click blog info and sub­scribe)!! Learn from our more than 30 years of help­ing make healthy moms & healthy babies.

Vis­it our web­site:  www.dancingthrupregnancy.com

Pregnancy Pathway, Conception — Review & Small Rant!

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REVIEW: Evi­dence is clear - pre-preg­nan­cy mater­nal health sta­tus, includ­ing phys­i­cal fit­ness, healthy nutri­tion and an uncom­pro­mised immune sys­tem affect the health and well-being of both moth­er and off­spring, in both short and long term.

This is the mes­sage sum­ma­ry from our first two areas of dis­cus­sion:  Pre­con­di­tions and Con­cep­tion — the green and sand col­ored sec­tions on the chart below.

pregnancy_pathway

COMING ATTRACTIONS: We are about to move on to the blue sec­tion — Preg­nan­cy!!  So, book­mark this Blog for future ref­er­ence!

Also, you can sub­scribe to this Blog by click­ing on Blog Info in the upper right cor­ner and then click­ing on Sub­scribe in the drop down menu.

But, yes, you guessed it, first we have a small rant!

SMALL RANT: When we note that fit­ness, nutri­tion and a healthy immune sys­tem play sig­nif­i­cant roles in the out­come of preg­nan­cy and the future health of moth­er and child, we are appeal­ing to young peo­ple of child­bear­ing age to be care­ful about your bod­ies. The alliance of egg and sperm shapes the world. With 6.5 Bil­lion egg/sperm com­bi­na­tions (yes, peo­ple) present­ly liv­ing on earth, our resources are stretched. With time, either we get more picky about doing this, or the 3rd rock from the sun (remem­ber that show?) is cooked.

Humor­ous incur­sion: In case you need fur­ther enlight­en­ment on this whole area, there is a great web­site that will help you out. Be pre­pared to be amused and amazed!

The Truth about Eggs and Sperm

Hope­ful­ly, this gets you in the right mood and keeps you smil­ing. After all, once you actu­al­ly are preg­nant, we have more seri­ous mat­ters to dis­cuss.