The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Remember: It's really more of a wish list. It's best to keep your birth plan short and sweet, and to really think through a few key questions which will help you communicate your wishes.
Use this form to write open-ended answers to five crucial questions. Then, print it out and share it with your health care provider.
Hello from the other end of the rainbow!
Because I'm so long-winded, and because I know that if I were a reader, I'd want every single detail, I'm going to split this into two entries: one to post on Monday, and one on Thursday. (Have I cleared this with my beloved editor? No! So here's hoping it works for her.)
Hello again! The continuation of Lena's birth story...
On the way to the hospital, my contractions got more intense. We stopped at a cafe on the way there for my "farmer's breakfast" on the orders of Michelle (my doula), and I had to stop and lean against the wall next to the organic juice. I wanted to believe this was all a great sign of progress! Dilation! Closer to the baby actually being born! But I was so boy-who-cried-wolf at that point that I didn't trust it.
Emily and Aron welcomed their baby girl, Lena, into the world at 4:54 on Thursday, October 18th, weighing in at 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Aron writes that Lena and Emily are healthy, happy, and resting, and that "Emily was amazing." (We knew she would be!)
Congratulations to Emily, Aron, and big sister Sylvia, and welcome to the world, little Lena!
—The Fit Pregnancy Editors
Check back on Monday, when Emily will be back to share the story of Lena's birth.
I've been reconsidering my decision to opt for an epidural this time around. After my labor experience with Julia, I vowed to never attempt a natural birth again. But suddenly I'm wondering if I'm selling myself short. After all, I made it all the way to ten centimeters and then through two hours of pushing with Julia before the doctor convinced me that an epidural would help relax me just enough so we could avoid any other type of intervention.
Megan's expecting her second baby. She had an epidural and a quick labor with her first but didn't like not having control of her body. She's hoping for an un-medicated labor this time and is practicing yoga, guided relaxation and self-hypnosis. She wants to know what I think of "natural" childbirth. Megan asks, "What improves our chances of success, what sabotages it, and what drives staff crazy about the process?" You guys ask such good questions.
It's interesting how many people are wondering about the same stuff. This week's emails were all about sex, drugs and epidurals. OK, not exactly rock and roll but what can you do?
In July 1990, I delivered my second son at home with the help of a midwife, a dear woman named G.B. who ran the mothers’ support group I belonged to, one devoted to breastfeeding, cotton diapers and homemade baby food. A mother of four herself, G.B. had the boyish figure and waist-length blond hair of a teenager, combined with the gentleness and insight of a tribal elder. I wanted to have a home birth partly to hang out with G.B. for 24 hours.
Episiotomies are beginning to look like the Pet Rocks of obstetrics: Nobody really wants one anymore, and fewer and fewer of them are being done. But some experts say that too many of them are still being performed.
A majority of people in the U.S. think "hospital" when talking about giving birth to a baby. However, home births are gaining in popularity, even in cramped Manhattan, The New York Times reports. A growing number of moms-to-be without medical problems have been choosing to stay in their familiar surroundings of home with the goal of giving birth without any medical interventions (but with a certified nurse midwife on hand for assistance, of course).
Over the past century, childbirth has become safer for mothers and babies in the United States. From 1900 to 1999, the risk of a baby dying during birth or in the first year of life plummeted from 1 in 10 to less than 1 in 100. The risk of a mother dying from pregnancy-related complications or childbirth decreased even more dramatically, from 850 deaths to less than 8 in every 100,000 births.
Write a birth plan, but not in stone. According to new guidelines from England, birth plans are a great way to determine what you want in labor, but once you're in its throes, it's communication that will promote a healthy outcome. Even if your plan isn't followed to the letter, delivery will be satisfying as long as your wishes are acknowledged. "Talk to your caregivers about your expectations and ask them to communicate with you as labor progresses," says obstetrician Karen Nordahl, M.D., a co-author of Fit to Deliver (Hartley & Marks), who reviewed the guidelines.