Thursday, December 11, 2008

32 + 5 Weeks

Childbirth Class

Really, I am quite glad that I signed up for a series of child birthing classes at my hospital. The class is a bunch of Power-point presentations and videos of sad, mid-1990's, disheveled women giving birth filled with about 10 moms and dad (more than half of them under 20) and a poor teacher who can't entice them to participate. I could have learned a lot of this from pregnancy websites (and have) but it's a refresher and it's good to be able to find out the hospital's policies and ways of doing things.

When we lived in Cleveland and first got pregnant, I really wanted to give birth in a birthing pool, in a birthing center, with a midwife and doing things they way I wanted. The more I thought about some random doctor strapping me to a bed and forcing me to push and tear and then ripping my tater tot away from my arms - the more nervous I got about giving birth. As we learn more about my hospital, I am filled with mixed emotions because some services they offer are progressive and mother-friendly, and some are not.

Baby allowed to lay skin to skin for first hour
Squatting bar available
May bring your own birthing ball
Rocking chairs available for labor positioning
Showers and bathtubs available for labor
Hep-lock option, instead of IV

Only 2 people in room during delivery
No food or drink - just ice chips
No pictures or video during delivery
Nurse directed pushing
No birthing tub available for delivery
No NICU available

Taken from

A mother-friendly hospital, birth center, or home birth service:

  1. Offers all birthing mothers:
    • Unrestricted access to the birth companions of her choice, including fathers, partners, children, family members, and friends;
    • Unrestricted access to continuous emotional and physical support from a skilled woman—for example, a doula,* or labor-support professional;
    • Access to professional midwifery care.
  2. Provides accurate descriptive and statistical information to the public about its practices and procedures for birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.
  3. Provides culturally competent care—that is, care that is sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.
  4. Provides the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of the lithotomy (flat on back with legs elevated) position.
  5. Has clearly defined policies and procedures for:
    • collaborating and consulting throughout the perinatal period with other maternity services, including communicating with the original caregiver when transfer from one birth site to another is necessary;
    • linking the mother and baby to appropriate community resources, including prenatal and post-discharge follow-up and breastfeeding support.
  6. Does not routinely employ practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including but not limited to the following:
    • shaving;
    • enemas;
    • IVs (intravenous drip);
    • withholding nourishment or water;
    • early rupture of membranes*;
    • electronic fetal monitoring;
    other interventions are limited as follows:
    • Has an induction* rate of 10% or less;†
    • Has an episiotomy* rate of 20% or less, with a goal of 5% or less;
    • Has a total cesarean rate of 10% or less in community hospitals, and 15% or less in tertiary care (high-risk) hospitals;
    • Has a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) rate of 60% or more with a goal of 75% or more.
  7. Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief, and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.
  8. Encourages all mothers and families, including those with sick or premature newborns or infants with congenital problems, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.
  9. Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
  10. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding:
    1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff;
    2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy;
    3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding;
    4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth;
    5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants;
    6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated;
    7. Practice rooming in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day;
    8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand;
    9. Give no artificial teat or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants;
    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from hospitals or clinics

* Items in red are concerns that I have about my hospital's policies.

.... On a side note, Spud says that he'll slip me some crackers while I'm in labor because even HE knows how bad I get when I don't eat for long periods of time!


  1. trust me...when you're in labor the last thing you're thinking about is food. you're going to feel like you want to puke every 10 minutes. it's weird. it's your hormones, of course! the almighty hormones. and ice chips taste really good for some reason! i couldn't get enough of them, they were like freakin' candy! i know that is even weirder but it's true! hehe. and yes, i was pleasantly suprised at BMH also, they were really modern about the whole birthing experience! it was refreshing to hear how pro-naural they are about everything! yay! what a great post! :)

  2. My poor sister hadn't eaten since the night before, then after she had the baby and got into her room, it was too late for food so she didn't eat anything for over 36 hours! And my professor was in labor for 40 hours with nothing but ice chips either! How can you stay hydrated and nourished and energetic and able to push a baby out with no food at all? Even if I end up not wanting it, I still want the OPTION of something light to eat.

    I'm glad you had a good experience at BMH! I'm not used to this new hospital, so I hope it goes well!
    Thank you!