Friday, April 08, 2005
- If pregnancy were a book they would cut the last two chapters. ~Nora Ephron
- Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside. ~Rita Rudner
- Think of stretch marks as pregnancy service stripes. ~Joyce Armor
- There are three reasons for breast-feeding: the milk is always at the right temperature; it comes in attractive containers; and the cat can't get it. ~Irena Chalmers
- You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment. ~Dave Barry, Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn
- People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. ~Leo J. Burke
- One of the most obvious results of having a baby around the house is to turn two good people into complete idiots who probably wouldn't have been much worse than mere imbeciles without it. ~Georges Courteline, La Philosophie de Georges Courteline
- You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus
- The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh
- When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty
- It is much easier to become a father than to be one. ~Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man
- There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus. ~Author Unknown
Thursday, April 07, 2005
From the German words for "with wife" the midwife has served an important function for hundreds of years. Until about the last 60 years, a vast majority of births took place at home, with the help of neighbors and friends. As childbirth has become more 'medicalized,' it has become for the most part, the domain of doctors and hospitals.
Many expectant couples do not know that midwives still exist and are available in many areas of the U.S. They can manage prenatal care, birth and postpartum, and follow-up care including birth control.There are two types of midwives: the 'lay-midwife' who has learned mostly on the job and typically does home births, and the 'certified nurse-midwife' who has received a great deal of academic training and generally works with physicians doing hospital deliveries, though some do home births.
The philosophy of midwives is that labor and birth are normal processes that require few, if any, interventions such as IVs, episiotomies, continuous fetal monitoring, or food restrictions. Midwives encourage birth plans and feel that prenatal education is extremely important for a woman to have the best birth possible. If complications arise, physician backup is available, however, most births can be handled completely by the midwife.
Midwives often like to be present throughout the labor (as opposed to physicians who generally rely on the labor & delivery nurses to inform them when a woman is far along enough for the physician to arrive in time for the birth), and act as support for the woman and her coach. The midwife will stress breathing, relaxation, visualization and massage techniques in order to decrease or eliminate the need for medication. Movement is encouraged, and laboring in a variety of positions can help to speed labor and increase the mother's comfort. Showers and tubs are great ways to decrease the discomfort of contractions; many women don't want to leave the tub once they have been talked into getting in!
While midwives have been around for a long time, it has only been in the past 25 years that they have been gaining renewed acceptance in the U.S. Most hospitals and many physicians' groups now have midwives in practice, though not all insurance companies will currently reimburse for a midwife's services. In the future it is likely that many more women will decide to have a midwife for their birth attendant, and will benefit from truly personalized care.More information can be obtained from the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) at (240)-485-1800 and the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) at (316)-283-4543. And thanks to Tim Clarke, you can also check out, www.midwife.org
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Doulas were originally the highest ranking female servant/slaves in ancient Greek households. In such a position, the doula would assist the lady of the house in childbirth. Less ancient usage of the word still refers solely to women who provide physical and emotional support, as well as information about pregnancy and babies to mothers before, during, and following childbirth.
Since the beginning of modern times, in the final stage of pregnancy known as labor and delivery (L&D); an expectant father's or partner's place was in the waiting room with other family members. As expectant parents have gained more control over the childbirth process, expectant fathers/partners have moved to the forefront as labor support to the mother. Fathers are now routinely admitted and often expected to be present for labor and delivery. While some significant others make great labor coaches...some don't. And that's perfectly fine. You don't want a coach that will faint on you in the middle of labor.
So a doula is a like a pinch hitter. A doula is usually a woman and most likely a mother herself. She is in the unique position to stand in the gap between selecting to go with a certified nurse midwife or a traditional hospital setting. In the role of labor support, a doula brings a relaxed, natural approach to labor and delivery, and having her present means that the laboring mother does not have to rely only on their significant for encouragement and help in dealing with pain.
A doula coaches, counsels and supports an expectant mother throughout her entire pregnancy through to her postpartum time. The presence of a doula during labor and delivery may help the process to move quickly and comfortably. The doula's role is also that of an advocate on behalf of the parents. She will convey the parents' needs and wishes to the hospital staff providing the expectant parents the opportunity to focus on labor and delivery. The theory is that mothers attended by doulas produce lower levels of stress hormones than mothers left alone in labor or attended by inexperienced coaches. If you are serious about not using drugs, a doula may be your best ally and even if you think you might want to receive an epidural, a doula can help make the experience less stressful and more satisfying.
Another great benefit of choosing to have a doula during labor and delivery is that since babies don't wait for hospital nursing shift changes to be born, a doula will be with you continuously no matter what is going on elsewhere on the floor. A doula is also a welcomed relief for most nurses since if it's a busy time, chances are they will have several patients at once. Additionally, doulas can provide support for breastfeeding and newborn care.
Doulas are relatively new players in the birthing game. Most health insurance companies do not cover their services so you will probably end up paying for a doula out of your own pocket. The cost of hiring a doula varies from area to area and doula to doula. What you pay for your doula will be based on how much experience she has and the going rate in your area. The basic range is usually $200 - $800. If fees are an issue, many times doulas will set up a sliding scale or payment plans to help those who can't afford the service. In many cases expectant couples find out about good doulas through word of mouth. Other places to look for referral are organizations dealing with childbirth, lactation consultants, childbirth educators, hospitals or birthing centers, your doctor or midwife, or anyone who has recently had a baby or works in the field.
There are three national organizations for the doula profession: Doulas of North America (DONA); National Association of Childbirth Assistants (NACA) which can be reached at (408)225-9167; and the Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE).
According to the authors of Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth, having a doula can give you the following:
- 50% reduction in c-section rates
- 25% shorter labor
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in oxytocin (pitocin) use
- 30% reduction in analgesia use
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery