Sunday, December 27, 2009

Share With Women: Am I in Labor?


What is labor?
Labor is the work that your body does to birth your baby. Your uterus (the womb) contracts. Your cervix (the mouth of the uterus) opens. You will push your baby out into the world.

What do contractions (labor pains) feel like?
When they first start, contractions usually feel like cramps during your period. Sometimes you feel pain in your back. Most often, contractions feel like muscles pulling painfully in your lower belly. At first, the contractions will probably be 15to 20 minutes apart. They will not feel too painful. As labor goes on, the contractions get stronger, closer together, and more painful.

How do I time the contractions?
Time your contractions by counting the number of minutes from the start of one contraction to the start of the next contraction.

What should I do when the contractions start?
If it is night and you can sleep, sleep. If it happens during the day, here are some things you can do to take care of yourself at home:
● Walk. If the pains you are having are real labor, walking will make the contractions come faster and harder. If the contractions are not going to continue and be real labor, walking will make the contractions slow down.
● Take a shower or bath. This will help you relax.
● Eat. Labor is a big event. It takes a lot of energy.
● Drink water. Not drinking enough water can cause false labor (contractions that hurt but do not open your cervix). If this is true labor, drinking water will help you have strength to get through your labor.
● Take a nap. Get all the rest you can.
● Get a massage. If your labor is in your back, a strong massage on your lower back may feel very good. Getting a foot massage is always good.
● Don’t panic. You can do this. Your body was made for this. You are strong!

When should I go to the hospital or call my health care provider?
● Your contractions have been 5 minutes apart or less for at least 1 hour.
● If several contractions are so painful you cannot walk or talk during one.
● Your bag of waters breaks. (You may have a big gush of water or just water that runs down your legs when you walk.)

Are there other reasons to call my health care provider?
Yes, you should call your health care provider or go to the hospital if you start to bleed like you are having a period—blood that soaks your underwear or runs down your legs, if you have sudden severe pain, if your baby has not moved for several hours, or if you are leaking green fluid. The rule is as follows: If you are very concerned about something, call.

First . . . If your baby is due more than 3 weeks from today and you are having back pain or stomach cramps, or there is fluid leaking from your vagina, or your baby has not moved for several hours, or you have other troubling symptoms, call your health care provider now!
Or . . . If you are overdue, be sure to see your health care provider at least once a week and talk with her about a plan for your care.


The website has easy-to-read information regarding the flu, vaccination, etc. It also gives H1N1 updates and has a vaccination location finder. Patients of Bethany Womens Healthcare who are pregnant or within 6 months postpartum can come to our office should they desire the vaccine.

YouTube Changing Birth Culture?

This is an interesting blog post by Amy Romano CNM. She discusses how YouTube could be a potential change agent for birth culture. Cool! A use for technology that is positive and helpful :)

I'll my desire to share what normal birth looks like, I have 'made' my daughters watch several YouTube birth videos. My 6-year-old, Liberty, finds them absolutely fascinating. She begs to come to work with me and see someone have a baby. I told her maybe someday. My 9-year-old, Daja, is not so interested. But she's also very much a tomboy and shies away from 'female things'. She has been to work with me and watched a birth. She did ok but I don't think she found it as awesome as I always do! She was a little green when the placenta came out. I had hoped to let her touch it (with gloves on, of course) but ended up sending her out of the room. :)

Annual Premature Birth Report Card

This is a subject near and dear to my heart as my son, Christian, was born prematurely at 34 weeks. He suffered complications that resulted in long term disability.

Report Card

Unfortunately Arizona scores a D.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

T's Birth

I had been seeing T all throughout this pregnancy as well as her first pregnancy. A student midwife and I had caught the baby last time. I was looking forward to catching this baby myself! T was kind enough to go into labor during my weekend on call :)

T is an herbalist and does not believe in taking any man-made medicines with the exception of life-saving. Her first labor and birth was done naturally and this one would be the same.

I had just left the hospital to go meet my mother to try and do some christmas shopping when T called me. She told me she had been contracting through the night and the contractions were pretty intense. They were also about every 6 minutes apart now. Her water had broke earlier that morning. I told her it sounded like she needed to come on in.

When she arrived, I was a little nervous because she looked very comfortable, even when having a contraction. She would breathe through the contraction but there were no other signs that she was having one....meaning her body and face were very relaxed. I was thinking that she might be very early in the labor. But I also know that everyone handles pain differently.

We got her settled in her room, got a quick strip of the baby, who looked great. Then we got her in the tub. Her cervix was dilated 5cms at this point! Woohoo! T and I sat in the bathroom for the remainder of her labor. Well, she was in the tub while I sat on a stool beside the tub :) T was amazingly relaxed and seemed to enjoy the tub. We talked about all kinds of things....from family to spirituality! I was worried that I was distracting her from her labor but she assured me that everything was fine. Her contractions eventually began to move closer together, until they were about 2-3 minutes apart. I was really enjoying watching her labor. I was able to tell when she moved into transition...not because she made more noise or anything, just because she stopped talking but still maintained a very relaxed appearance. I could tell that she was becoming more focused and drawing inward. She looked beautiful!

Eventually she told me that she could feel the baby moving down. I rechecked her while she was in the tub...she was 8-9cms now. However, I had a feeling that would be changing quickly. We waited a few more contractions until she felt like she needed to push. I rechecked her to find the baby at +2 station (+3 is crowning) and told her she was definitely ready! We moved her to the bed, where she made herself comfortable. She pushed when she needed to, focusing on her husband, who stood at the bedside. She was absolutely silent. She looked exactly how I would imagine a labor goddess to look :) She pushed with great control for about 6 minutes. She delivered another beautiful baby girl over an intact perineum approximately 2 hours and twenty minutes after arriving!

Congratulations T and I can't wait until the next one!!!!!!!