40 Weeks to Freedom – It’s Worth the Wait

2019-09-23T06:19:12+00:00September 23rd, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Why does it seem like the last month of pregnancy lasts longer than the previous nine? My fellow moms – I absolutely get  why you want to end it as soon as possible. The final weeks are uncomfortable and anxiety ridden. Waiting for the baby to arrive and FINALLY starting your maternity leave, plus meeting your baby is the most exciting day! It’s no wonder we want to rush to the end by inducing labor instead of allowing labor to begin naturally. Inducing labor is defined as: you or a care provider uses a drug or an action to cause labor to start before it starts on its own. Doctors and researchers don’t really understand how or why labor begins when it does, so the drugs and interventions don’t always result in labor actually beginning and progressing to delivery. One quarter of moms that are induced end up with a cesarean birth when labor stalls or goes on too long.

Researchers now believe the fetus actually signals the beginning of the labor process, possibly when the lungs have matured enough to take the first breath of air. The fetus likely signals a hormone release that relaxes the cervix and starts uterine contractions. Because of the complexity of the labor process, it is best to allow it to begin naturally even if your due date has come and past.

A due date can be misleading, the exact date of fertilization can be nearly impossible to know for sure. Also, just like babies reach milestones at different times, it’s normal to have a range of normal gestation. Anytime between 39 and 42 weeks is considered a safe time to deliver, and waiting for labor to start naturally is another reassuring signal your baby is ready to be born.

Doctors used to deliver babies earlier in pregnancy for their convenience and at mom’s request (if she was uncomfortable – what part of pregnancy IS comfortable??) Doctors noticed the number of babies that required special care for breathing problems, breastfeeding problems and inability to regulate their body temperature increased as babies were delivered earlier. The American Academy Of Pediatrics recommends waiting until 39 weeks to consider an induction. Read the AAP position statement here The Timing of Planned Delivery:Strengthening the Case for 39 Weeks

If you are thinking about trying to induce your labor at home, there are several things women have been told to try to get labor going. Unfortunately, none of the home remedies have been shown to be effective when reviewed by researchers.

  • Hypnosis: not effective, compared with doing nothing
  • Homeopathy: not effective, compared with doing nothing
  • Sexual intercourse: not effective, compared with doing nothing
  • Sweeping/stripping membranes (office procedure done with a vaginal exam): not effective, compared with doing nothing
  • Acupuncture: not effective, compared with doing nothing
  • Breast stimulation: increases the likelihood of starting labor, but more research is needed to understand safety (there are concerns that strong contractions could reduce oxygen flow to the fetus, although the study that raised this concern was done in women with high-risk pregnancies)
  • Castor oil: effective at starting labor, but does not decrease the chance of having a C-section. Castor oil causes nausea and diarrhea in most women. More research is needed to understand safety.

If you feel the need to induce your labor or have any health concerns, talk with your doctor before trying any of these techniques. There are times when induction is the right choice for you and your baby.


More is better with skin-to-skin

2015-12-11T18:57:58+00:00December 11th, 2015|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

The first hour after birth is known as the Magic Hour. This is an exciting occasion as the family meets the new addition, and babies get their first experience of the world outside the womb.

Research shows the best way to spend the first hour with your baby is against your bare chest; she should be wearing only a diaper. This is called skin-to-skin contact, because your baby’s bare skin is against your bare skin. When researchers measured the stress level of newborn babies, they found the lowest level of stress in babies that spent the most time skin-to-skin with mom (or even dad!). The highest stress levels were measured in babies that were separated from their moms in the nursery.

Most mammals, like humans, are in close contact with their young immediately after birth. Having your baby against your skin lets you share body heat to keep your baby warm. Your baby can hear your heart beat, your voice and other familiar sounds that have comforted her as she grew into your beautiful baby.

The positive effect of skin-to-skin contact on breastfeeding is strong. Newborn babies on mom’s bare chest will often begin breastfeeding without any help. Check out this video of a newborn finding the nipple and latching unassisted. http://www.breastcrawl.org/video.shtml

Research shows the longer a baby stays skin-to-skin immediately after birth, the longer breastfeeding lasts. When your baby has easy access to breastfeeding, he will do it frequently, helping establish a strong milk supply and more successful breastfeeding.

If you want to have your baby skin-to-skin after he is born, let your birth partner and hospital staff know your wishes. Give instructions to wipe off your baby, put on a diaper on her and place her on your bare chest. If you have a caesarian (C-section) you can still hold your baby skin-to-skin after birth, in the operating room – so be sure to ask for it!

Below is a short list of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact after birth-

• Warmth, as you share your body heat.
• Stability of heartbeat and breathing as your baby is more relaxed, feeling safe and comfortable.
• Increased time spent in the deep sleep, the restorative sleep that prepares her body and mind to learn and grow.
• Increased time spent in the quiet alert phase, this is the observation time when your baby uses her senses to learn about the world.
• Less crying as your baby feels safe, warm and her needs are met
• Increased weight gain, your baby is breastfeeding as needed.

If your hospital doesn’t offer skin-to-skin, ask for it – for the health of you and your baby.

Article sources

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2015). About Skin to Skin Care. https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/preemie/Pages/About-Skin-to-Skin-Care.aspx
Leslie Bramson, Jerry W. Lee, Elizabeth Moore, Susanne Montgomery, Christine Neish, Khaled Bahjri, and Carolyn Lopez Melcher. (2010). Effect of Early Skin-to-Skin Mother—Infant Contact During the First 3 Hours vol. 26, 2: pp. 130-137., first published on January 28, 2010