Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pregnancy and Home birth

I have been wanting to share my thoughts and feelings about pregnancy and home birth, and midwives..and everything. I will share the not-so-private aspects..

Let me start by saying, I love being pregnant. I love home birth. But, I do not love giving birth. You would think after doing it four times I wouldn't think it was such a big deal. But I haven't had four beautiful, peaceful home births. I've had 2 rather traumatic hospital births, followed by one PERFECT HOME BIRTH, followed by a 48 hour attempt at home birth then being transferred to the hospital.

I am rather opinionated about this subject. So, if you are quick to be offended, please click away now. :) This is just MY opinion/experience.

I do feel that each woman has the RIGHT to give birth where she feels safe, and with a qualified care provider she is comfortable with. Just because my safe place is at home with a midwife, doesn't mean that's what is right for every woman. We all have different experiences, education, likes and dislikes. I do believe every woman should be treated with respect and dignity. I makes my skin crawl to hear about impatient, rude doctors..or midwives for that matter. I feel that if you are not being treated properly, FIRE THEM! You are paying them! I have fired many a doctor.

I choose birthing with a midwife because it's safe. Plenty of documentation and studies to prove it. My midwife knows my name, she knows my husbands and children's names. She knows my birth history. She spends as much time with me at each appointment as I need her to (the average prenatal appointment with a midwife is over an hour). She has educated me as a pregnant mother about my body, pregnancy and childbirth. She has encouraged me to take responsibility for this child long before he/she is born by education, proper diet, herbal supplements, and a healthy lifestyle.

Pregnancy is not a sickness nor disease, that needs to be "managed". And childbirth is not a medical event, or surgical procedure. Our bodies were meant to give birth! I think if all women were educated properly, the induction rate (nearly 81%) and the c-section rate (as high as 33%) would be reduced significantly. Doctors specialize in high-risk medicalized, surgical childbirth, and midwives in NATURAL birth.

If women would just take the time to educate themselves, about all of the risks associated with "routine procedures" that happen at the hospital. Do you know there is a risk to you and your baby by using Pitocin to be induced? Cytotec? Internal (vaginal) exams during labor? risk of infection, and completely unnecessary, listen to mama's cues... and you will know when it's time! Having your waters ruptured (called amniotomy)? Epidural anesthesia? Routine ultrasound? Do you know that giving birth on your back, with your legs up in stirrups is the least productive (and least comfortable) way to give birth?!? Being to told when and how to push? You will know, you don't need to be told!

Do you know that there is another way, all you have to do is ask!!!! Even at the hospital...

Do you know that all of those "routine" things they do to your newborn are for their convenience. Suctioning? usually not necessary. Cutting/clamping the cord immediately? not good for baby, best to wait until it stops pulsating at the base near the placenta. Taking the baby to a warmer? Mama is the best warmer, read the benefits of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, promotes bonding and regulates baby's temperature. Antibiotic eye drops? Do you know they assume you have an STD and that's the ONLY reason for the eye drops. Do you know babies have been blinded by these eye drops? Do YOU have an STD? No? than why give the drops??? Newborn Hep B vaccine? Is your infant at risk for getting a sexually transmitted Hep B at birth? Would it hurt to wait until your newborns immune system has a chance to develop before injecting them with a disease? Vitamin K shot? Do you know WHY this is given, have you looked into whether it is necessary for YOUR baby? This is your child, don't you owe it to her to research these things?

Most hombirth midwives do not practice "routine intervention".

Midwives in a home birth setting are trained to recognize problems long before they are an emergency, leaving plenty of time to transport the laboring mama to the hospital. Midwives also monitor your baby's heart rate throughout labor (using Doppler), and carry oxygen for respiratory issues. Midwives can start IV's if necessary.. can administer herbs or Pitocin to stop bleeding, etc..

This time around I am doing many things differently. My diet is different. I am not much of a meat-eater, and this time I am following a mostly vegetarian diet.. and I feel better!:) I am trying to avoid another 10 lb 14 oz. baby (that likely resulted from excess calories, little exercise, and too much ice cream). That pregnancy I gained way too much weight, and it took some time to get back to a healthy weight. I am happy to report that at my 6 month prenatal, I have only gained 16 lbs.. that's awesome for me, comparatively speaking.

This time around I am concentrating on getting my greens (lots of spinach and kale in my green smoothies), lots of fruits and veggies, and lots of good quality protein foods..beans, legumes, eggs, nut butters, avocado's and brown rice, and whole grain breads. I have been avoiding white breads, cereals, sweets, and dairy products, (except for cheese, which I cannot live without :)

I am also taking herbal supplements. Lots of red raspberry leaf tea, and capsules " tone to the muscles of the pelvis and uterus. The benefits of this toning action include: prevention of miscarriage and false labor, reduction of pain during and after birth, production of more effective contractions during labor and therefore a faster birth, and prevention of postpartum hemorrhage or bleeding. Red Raspberry is also an rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients make it an excellent prevention and treatment for anemia and leg cramps, as well as a beneficial remedy for the reduction of morning sickness. The high mineral content also assists in the production of breast milk"

as well as taking liquid chlorophyll, or Floradix, and Alfalfa tablets. And drinking lots and lots of water (usually with green tea drops in it)
I am also drinking kefir, YUM!

I have also been doing some yoga, something I never thought I would enjoy, and now absolutely LOVE! I also get regular chiropractic care, and am scheduling some 3rd trimester massages.

I haven't written a birth plan yet. This time around I plan to invite less people. I can picture this birth, a hot summer day, home with just my hubby until things get serious. I'm thinking the less people and distractions the better. I plan to walk around outside, and use our swimming pool in early labor. And eventually move inside and give birth in my jacuzzi tub. I could go on and on about water birth!

I'll let you know how it goes... ;)

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