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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pregnancy Tips For A Better, Healthier, Easier Birth With Fewer Interventions

Pregnancy can be a time of great confusion for many women. There is so much conflicting advice from care givers that it is easy to become overwhelmed. So here are just a few things that may be most helpful in letting you have the birth you want, especially if you want a natural or conscious birth where you are more in control of your birth and your body.
First, hire a doula. DONA International at is great place to start. This is someone who will be there to support you during the birth, as well as act as your advocate and liaison with the hospital staff. No matter what type of caregiver you have during your pregnancy, a doula can help you. A doula will tell you the facts about every procedure your caregiver recommends, including episiotomy, forceps, pitocin, and others. If your doctor asks if you want a procedure, the doula will be there to explain it to you. They will explain what each procedure is and what it is for, as well as its potential hazards and alternatives.

Second, have one or more prenatal massage sessions. Prenatal massage has been positively associated with many benefits. Some of these include a shorter, less painful labor with fewer interventions, better birth outcomes, and less prematurity. Then there are the usual massage benefits such as reducing lower back pain and depression.

The depression reducing effect is especially beneficial, because it can extend past the time of birth, and post natal depression can have many negative effects on the newborn. The scale used to measure neonatal development has been studied with relation to depression in the mother, and negative effects have been shown with babies born to depressed mothers whose depression continues. Similarly, this scale was used on newborns whose mothers had received prenatal massage, and the measurements showed improvement for the newborn's development.

Third, find a prenatal class in your area and register.BirthArts International, Lamaze, and The Bradley Method all offer classes in most areas. You can get to their websites by clicking on their name in the preceding sentence. Look for a class with positive reviews and ratings online, and for a teacher who shares your philosophy of birth. Even if you are planning a cesarean, you can find a teacher who will be supportive while educating you about your decision.

However, most teachers do feel that birth is a natural physiological process, and that nearly all women are able to give birth naturally if they learn ahead of time what to expect and how to deal with the pain of labor using relaxation techniques, breathing, baths, etc. They will also explain to you what you can expect in a hospital, and what interventions have been studied and shown to be necessary. For example, continuous fetal monitoring is practiced in most hospitals, but has not been shown to be of greater benefit than intermittent monitoring. Some hospitals, however, will not allow the patient to reject this intervention, since it limits their liability and can be used in court to justify other interventions later.

Fourth and last on this list is prenatal yoga. Find yoga teachers at Prenatal yoga has been shown to have some of the same benefits as massage, and it can also help in other ways. Most importantly, it can help to make your hips looser and more open, so that it is then easier for the baby to pass through your pelvis. Yoga also can help you to be more relaxed during labor and delivery, so that you are more present and able to deal with any issues that may come up. Prenatal yoga is most effective if you also have a doula to support you in labor and an obstetrician who performs more natural births than c-sections. Having a midwife instead of an OB has begun to become more popular in recent years, since your chances of an unmedicated intervention free birth are higher with a midwife in a free standing birth center.

One difficulty in choosing a doctor and hospital is that they are not required to disclose their statistics to you regarding the number of c-sections they perform, nor are they required to record them at all. This can make it impossible to verify whether a doctor or hospital is likely to give you the type of birth you want.

However, if you are not satisfied with the care you are likely to get at your hospital, New Jersey and New York both have quite a few free standing birth centers, as well as a number of homebirth midwives. If this seems like a better environment for your birth, it will not be hard to find help. Prior blogs here have discussed the benefits of both home births and midwives. Most insurance companies today have begun to cover midwife births in a birth center, so long as they have a relationship with a hospital for any emergency (nearly every one does).

So, if you want to have an easier birth, these four tips can help you to be successful in fulfilling that desire. Don't forget to have several postnatal massage sessions afterward, as this has been shown to speed recovery. For more information on prenatal massage, please click here.

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