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Chatting With A Pregnant Mom-To-Be

August 9, 2010

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It’s been a few days . . . I’ve been working on some posts about breastfeeding, mainly obstacles to breastfeeding, and will begin posting them later this week. If you saw the pM Facebook page, you know I went out-of-town with my family this weekend. Despite a crazy night with our 10-month old on Saturday, we had a really good time. I had the pleasure of chatting with my husband’s cousins and some other family members on Saturday evening. One of his cousins is 37-weeks-pregnant with her first baby. The other has two kiddos, 6-years and 3-years-old. We discussed all kinds of baby-related things. So I thought I’d capture that chat right here, and elaborate some.

Did you know you don’t have to have an IV while you’re in labor? That’s right. When you get to the hospital the best thing you can do to keep your labor going and help baby get into the best position for delivery is to remain mobile (walk, change positions, get in a tub or shower, etc). It’s easier to do this if you don’t have to cart an IV pole around with you. Why would your doctor or hospital want you to have an IV? Most doctors prefer ‘active management of labor.’ You would also need an IV (eventually) if you choose to have an epidural. And you will need an IV if you choose to take antibiotics if you’ve tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS) and you want to lessen the chances of passing it to your baby. Also, you can always ask for a heplock instead of an IV.  In very basic terms, a heplock is like an IV but the tubes are not attached unless/until necessary, making it an open port to your vein that is ‘locked’ off. If you are planning to have an unmedicated birth and will not be taking antibiotics, there is absolutely no reason you would need an IV or Heplock. Remember, you are the customer. You tell them what you want and what you don’t want (although I do highly recommend talking about this with your care provider and/or hospital staff prior to being admitted).

If you’re having a hard time pushing the baby out, get in a different position! Did you know that you don’t have to push a baby out while laying on your back, with your feet in stirrups? Really. I delivered my first baby while laying on my side. My nurse added a squat bar to the end of the hospital bed and I used it to support my leg. I also tried squatting while pushing (even with an epidural – just have them turn it down so you can feel your legs a bit). I delivered my second baby (drug-free) while on all fours on the hospital bed. Many care providers don’t like these positions because it makes it a little more difficult for them to see what’s going on. BUT, who cares? They don’t NEED to see everything. And if a different position prevents an episiotomy, suction or forceps delivery or a c-section, then it’s worth it (unfortunately, your doctor won’t be able to bill you or your insurance for those extra services ::wink::). Again, you’re the patient, do what’s best for you. Nobody can make you deliver your baby the way they want you to.

Other positions can also be very helpful if you’re not dilating (keep upright) or if baby’s heartbeat is not doing what the doctor’s want it to do. Remember how every book you read tells you not to lay on your back while you’re pregnant (because it can cut off the blood/oxygen supply to your baby)? Why in the world would you do that while you’re laboring?

Labor not progressing or maybe your water broke and contractions are not happening? Try natural methods, like nipple stimulation, to get your labor going before you agree to Pitocin or amniotomy (breaking your water). It can work, I promise. My water broke 5 hours before I had any significant contractions with my second baby. I needed to get things going so hubby and I spent a few minutes alone in our bedroom (thankful that my mom was here to watch our firstborn). All it took was one round and my contractions began. The method we had planned to use: Nipple stimulation for five minutes at a time (one breast) or until I had a contraction. Rest 5 minutes and do it again. Like I said, it only took one try and my contractions started – about 4 minutes in. This is in no way medical advice. There are a lot of different methods of nipple stimulation, including using a breast pump, and many variations on protocol.

How many nursing bras do you need? Personally, I have three really great bras for everyday wear, plus a few for sleeping and those first few weeks when your size is still adjusting. I have a bra size that can only be found online, and the bras tend to be more expensive. If I were smaller, I’d probably have more than this, but that’s really all you NEED. My favorite online nursing bra store is Breakout Bras. Their measuring guidelines are perfect, prices are great and if you need help, they’re just an email or phone call away, with great support (ha, ha).

On that note, do NOT go buy a bunch of nursing bras BEFORE you have your baby. Your size WILL change. Most bra-fitters will tell you to wait until about 3 weeks postpartum before buying good nursing bras. So, what should you do in the meantime? You’re probably not going to be out and about a lot in the first few weeks. Have a couple soft, stretchy nursing bras. You can find nearly every brand in this category over at Breakout Bras. (No, they don’t pay me to plug them. I just think they’re great!)

Formula is not ‘great.’ It will keep your baby alive and developing if that’s your only option (approximately 2-5% of women cannot breastfeed). But if you can breastfeed, you should. Here’s a LINK to 101 Reasons to Breastfeed. I’ll elaborate on some of these later this week. For now, I have to share this quote from an article I linked to on the pM Facebook page, entitled “The Normal Newborn and Why Breastmilk is Not Just Food”: “Breastfeeding isn’t special sauce, a leg up or a magic potion.  It’s not ‘best.’ It’s normal.  Just normal. Designed for the needs of a vulnerable human infant.  And nothing else designed to replace it is normal.”

That about covers everything we chatted about . . . hope some of this information was helpful to you!

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