Friday, October 15, 2010

The 10 month-old fetus

An interesting article from our neighbors up north:

Lobbying grows for the 10 month-old baby

Just how long does it take to make a human baby? Nine months is the going answer, but a small lobby of women believes that it’s more like 10 months and beyond.

Guardian columnist Viv Groskop gave the debate some gravitas with her Oct. 1 story of giving birth to her third child 20 days after his due date. “My first two babies were 15 days late,” she wrote. “But a day shy of week 43? That is virtually record-breaking – and, some would say, slightly mad.”

Generally, a baby is considered full-term when it reaches a gestational age of 37 weeks. A “post-term” baby is one that been gestating up to or beyond 42 weeks...

Read more

I've heard a lot of women tell me that their due date is not what they think it should be, knowing for sure the date they conceived, but they still go along with the doctor's estimates. When they reach 38 weeks, they start being pressured into having their membranes swept or being scheduled for inductions. I have to think that this standard adjustment is part of why I see so many women who are not at all in labor walking to their hospital rooms while I'm attending other births. Are they all considered "late"? And are the ones who are told that they're "overdue", are they at 38 weeks? 42? 40 and 3 days?

I was a three week late baby and was born with no complications and minimal interventions. No one was pressuring my mother to induce when she hit 38 weeks. I know many other people who have a similar story. Interestingly, since becoming a doula, my mother has shared more of her birth story with me than I had previously ever known. After a lengthy talk on due dates recently, she realized that the doctor's due dates for her were most likely off due to a number of factors that she never had the chance to even bring up with her OB when they took out the gestational chart and circled September 2. I was born September 29 without a sign of post maturity...unless my whopping 9lbs 10 oz were solely the result of a few extra weeks.

Are there similar stories out there? This article came from Canada and as far as I know, their induction rate is somewhat lower than ours (which was reported to be 20.6% in 2003, but some smaller recent surveys are showing rates closer to 40%) and it may be likely that the pressure to induce in Canadian hospitals for post-term dates could be even less significant than in the U.S. I don't know of very many women who are allowed to go even two weeks past their due dates in the U.S., let alone to 43 weeks. Am I wrong?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

National Health Services Releases Video on Birthing Options

A new birth center in a local hospital prompts a video sponsored by the NHS (UK) to release a video on the various options afforded women in that area. Could you imagine a video like this being released in the US? Where homebirth is seen as a safe and viable option, where one-to-one nurse care is standard, where laboring in a birth tub is the norm, and where midwifery care is given to all low-risk women? Let's hope so!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mother's Blessing

Jaz and I recently helped host a Mother's Blessing for a friend and it turned out to be a really beautiful, wonderful experience for the mama and all involved. It was a day of pampering Alyx, belly casting, and sharing stories of strength and guidance.

Mother's Blessings can be alternatives to the traditional shower, or supplemental to them. There are some unique traditions to be made up and some long-standing ones to be celebrated during the event. There are no gifts to buy, but the time spent helping the mother prepare for the journey she will soon take is worth so much.

For Alyx's ceremony, we made an intentions banner and left it blank for everyone to fill in with pictures, drawings, affirmations, and messages to mama and baby for labor. Alyx can bring the banner to the hospital on the birth day and hang it in the room for some added cheer and to remind her that although she is the only one that can deliver this new life into the world, she is not alone.

These ceremonies are really about celebrating the journey of motherhood and honoring this mama's entry into the world of motherhood. There are no set guidelines for these events, but some wonderful activities could be cooking food to freeze for the postpartum period, belly casting or painting,  belly henna, giving mama a massage and a foot bath, sharing birth stories, writing and sharing affirmations, making a calming birth playlist together, making a quilt or afghan for mama and baby, or sharing beads or other collected items for a labor necklace. The possibilities are endless! Just get creative and think of ways that you can show the new mama you care!