The third stage of labor starts after your baby is born and ends with birthing the placenta. Even after your beautiful baby is born your uterus will continue to contract. These contractions are much more mild than the contractions you experience during birth. As your uterus begins to contract and shrink, your placenta will detach from your uterine wall. The blood vessels are then closed off, and the placenta is pushed out. You have some options as to what interventions are employed during this stage. This episode explains all of your choices during the third stage of labor and examines the research to give you all of the information you need to make the right decision for you.
Evening primrose oil comes from seeds of a wildflower that grows in the United States. It is usually found in capsules or as an oil. Some pregnant moms use evening primrose oil to help with cervical ripening, to attempt to induce labor. The research available on evening primrose oil sheds some light on whether this is a good method to induce labor naturally and what some of the side effects are. This episode answers a question about what evening primrose oil does and whether you should take it.
Vitamin K and erythromycin are involved in two standard procedures that are done to your newborn shortly after birth. All babies are naturally born with low levels of vitamin K. This vitamin is essential to helping your baby's blood clot. The shot of vitamin K is designed to provide your baby with adequate levels of vitamin K to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding. Erythromycin eye ointment is an antibacterial medication to prevent eye infections that can cause permanent damage or even blindness in your baby. Find out what the risks are of these complications are and learn more about why vitamin K and erythromycin are administered. Like everything pregnancy and birth related you have choices. This episode gets into what the vitamin K and erythromycin procedures entail, why they are done, all of the risks and benefits, and your options.
Rupturing the membranes refers to breaking your water, which is also known as an amniotomy, and this is one type of induction. This procedure is thought to release prostaglandins and create a rise in oxytocin to speed up labor. An amniotomy is typically done only if the cervix is partially dilated and thinned and the baby's head is deep in the pelvis. A doctor or midwife ruptures your membranes by making a small opening in the amniotic sac with a thin plastic hook, which is very similar to a knitting needle. There are both benefits and risks with an induction. It can be really stressful if your care provider is recommending an induction when you are trying to avoid it. This episode answers a question about how to handle this tough situation, and discusses the pros and cons of your care provider rupturing your membranes.
If you want to have a natural birth that does not mean that you have to home birth. The majority of natural births take place in a hospital. There is a lot you can do to set yourself up for success in navigating through the policies and procedures of a hospital to have an intervention free birth. This episode gets into some challenges you may face in the hospital, how to overcome those obstacles, and how to set yourself up for a successful natural hospital birth. Whether you are planning a birth with some interventions or planning to avoid them entirely, this episode has some great tips on how to distinguish between early and active labor, how to communicate with your care provider, and what you can do to prepare for the birth experience you want.
Samantha Lee Wright is a childbirth educator and doula, and she is a pro on navigating a natural birth in a hospital. She is the host for the #1 essential oil podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, The Essential Oil Revolution, where she teaches on the various ways to use essential oils and other healthy living tips to help families take control of their own health.
There really is overwhelming evidence of the benefits to both delayed cord clamping and getting skin to skin immediately after birth. Delayed cord clamping increases your baby’s blood volume by about 20% from a transfer that takes place after they are born. This additional supply of blood supplies extra iron, which can help guard against anemia in the first year of life, and it is enriched with immunoglobulins and stem cells. Skin to skin contact stabilizes your baby’s heart rate, breathing and temperature and reduces stress in both you and your baby. Your baby instinctively wants to breastfeed and being skin-to-skin with you will foster that. It also increases your interactions with your baby and increases the likelihood and length of breastfeeding. This weeks episodes answers a question about whether the umbilical cord is long enough to get skin to skin with your baby before the cord is cut.
A water birth is a birth in which a baby is born to a mother laboring in a tub of water. There are legends of women in different cultures laboring in water dating back quite a ways but there isn’t documentation of anyone actually giving birth in water until 1803 in France. Then it wasn’t until the 1980’s that the popularity of water births began growing in Western cultures, and today it is becoming increasingly popular. Proponents of water birth claim that it is beneficial in management of discomfort from contractions, that it promotes relaxation, and that it eases stress for your baby during birth. Critics of the practice raise concerns about the safety of water births and risks associated with respiratory issues for the baby and the risk of infection for both you and your baby. This episode digs deep into both the possible benefits and risks.
It easy to start thinking about how you are going to lose the baby weight before you even have your baby and there is so much pressure to get back to your pre-baby body. I hope you do not stress out about that, there are going to be a lot of changes after your little one arrives, and your focus needs to be on taking care of yourself during recovery and taking care of your new baby. Trying to figure out when to start working out after you have your baby can be tricky. You may also be wondering whether working out will affect breastfeeding and your milk production. This episode answers two questions about when to start working out and whether working out affects your milk production. This episode features Lori Isenstadt, of the All About Breastfeeding podcast.
A birth center is a middle ground between a home birth and a hospital. You get the benefit of a natural birth in a home-like setting, with some of the safety net that you would have in a hospital. Birth centers are generally based on midwife led care, focused on prenatal and postpartum care for low-risk women. The majority of birth centers are free standing entities, and more are popping up in hospitals with the same focus of natural birth but are fully integrated within the hospital system in the event resources or care from the hospital are needed. This episode covers what a birth center is, what you can expect during your prenatal care, how everything works during your labor and birth, and the research on the safety of birth centers.
The placenta grows wherever the embryo implants itself in the uterus. In the majority of pregnancies, the placenta attaches at the top or side of the uterus. In some cases, the embryo implants itself in the lower portion of the uterus. Low-lying placenta is defined as a placenta ending within 2 cm of the internal cervical opening but not covering it. If the placenta grows over the cervix, it is called placenta previa. As the uterus expands it can pull the placenta higher, and away from the cervix, which resolves the situation. The later in pregnancy that placenta previa exists, the more likely it will be present at the time of delivery. This episode answers some questions about placenta previa resolving itself, and the risks involved with a low-lying placenta in the early and late stages of pregnancy.
Group B streptococcus is a type of bacterial infection. This bacterium naturally lives in the gastrointestinal tract and is present in the vagina and/or rectum of about 25% of all healthy, adult women. Once you have this bacterium it does not mean you will always have it, and it can come and go. Most women who are colonized with group B strep do not experience any symptoms, and normally this is not a big deal. It can create some complications for you when you are pregnant and can cause some serious complications if it is passed to your baby. It has become standard practice to test all expecting mothers between weeks 35 to 37 for group B strep. This episode covers what is involved in the testing, how group B strep is treated, and how you can reduce the risks to your baby. This episode also explores some research on what you can do to decrease your risk for group b strep during pregnancy and prevent the possibility of ever becoming colonized.
In the past it was assumed once you had one cesarean section, every subsequent birth would also need to be via a cesarean section. A vaginal birth after cesarean is not recommended if you had a uterine rupture during a previous pregnancy or if you had a classical incision in a C-section. A uterine rupture can occur when your uterus tears long a previous scar from a C-section, and this requires an emergency C-section. Today VBAC is becoming more popular for women who had a previous C-section, and about 90% of women who have had a cesarean are a candidate for a VBAC and of women who plan for a VBAC, about 3 in 5 are successful. This episode answers a few questions about planning a VBAC and going past your due date, what the risks are, and how to increase your chances of success.
It was not too long ago in our history that all births took place at home. Over the last century the number of women giving birth at home has sharply declined. The decline in home births is due to many factors beyond the advancements we have made in medicine. The laws of your country or state, the coverage of home birth by your insurance or health care, and social attitudes have all played a part in directing where you have your baby. In recent years the rates of home birth have been increasing as more expecting parents are exploring this as an option. The biggest benefit to a home birth is that you have the most control over your labor and your environment in a home setting. Learn what you can expect during a home birth from the time you start your labor until your baby is born. The safety of home birth is a controversial topic and this episode includes a lot of research on whether home birth is safe and what some of the risks are.
The umbilical cord has one vein, which is carrying oxygenated blood from the placenta to your baby, and two arteries that take deoxygenated blood from your baby back to the placenta. A single umbilical artery means that instead of two arteries carrying deoxygenated blood from your baby there is only one. This is the most common umbilical abnormality and occurs in about 1 percent of pregnancies with a single baby. It is much more common with twins or multiples and occurs in about 5 percent of those. This episode answers some questions about the risks involved with this diagnosis.
There is so much you can do to set up your labor room environment to be supportive of the birth experience you want. Your labor will progress best in an environment where you feel safe and relaxed. No matter where you are having your baby you could make some adjustments to your surroundings to create the environment that works best for you. This episode has some great tips to improve your birth environment, whether you are giving birth at your home, in a birth center, or a hospital. You want to set up the room to be your space. If there is anything that would make a difference to you pack it in your hospital or birth center bag. If anything about the environment is not working for you, ask if you can adjust it, remove it, or turn it off. The more comfortable you are in your surroundings the more relaxed and at ease you will be to focus on meeting your baby.
The glucose challenge screening is a preliminary screening test you take in the early part of your third trimester. This has become a standard test performed between 26-28 weeks. During the test, you are asked to drink a sweet liquid of glucose and then will have blood drawn one hour from having the drink, as blood glucose levels normally peak within one hour. This screening test evaluates how your body processes sugar and a high level in your blood may indicate your body is not processing sugar effectively. If the results of this screen are positive, meaning your body is not processing glucose effectively, you may have the Glucose Tolerance Test performed, which is used to diagnose gestational diabetes. This episode answers a few questions relating to the glucose screening test.
Natural birth is a birth without medical interventions, particularly anesthesia. It is not some hippie ideology that rejects the advances we have made in medicine. The picture a lot of expecting moms have when they think about natural birth is a mother having a baby in a bathtub at home. Natural birth does not have to be confined to your home, and many women do have a birth without any interventions in a hospital setting without chants going on and incense burning in the background. Natural birth is not just for hippies and this episode is really going to get into the science behind natural childbirth. By understanding the natural process of an uninterrupted birth you will be better able to understand how interventions can affect this process and why some women choose a natural birth.
Cesarean section uterine incisions can be closed either with a single layer or a double layer of sutures. In the 1990’s, the single-layer technique was touted as having fewer complications and became pretty widely accepted in the medical community, because short term, it seemed like the single layer technique was better. There have been questions raised about whether a single layer closure is linked to complications in the long term, specifically with a subsequent pregnancy. This episode answers the question as to whether a single or double layer suture is better in the short and long term and includes the available research on the two methods.
A cesarean section, also known as a C-section, is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions in the mother's abdomen and uterus. A C-section could be planned ahead of time if you have a complication that would make a vaginal delivery difficult or you have had a previous C-section and aren't considering vaginal birth after cesarean, commonly referred to as a VBAC. Often a cesarean is not planned and the circumstances change when you are in labor, which lead to a C-section. If you are planning on a C-section you should know what is involved and what you can expect. This episode will also give you some tips on options you may not know that you have, and some tips to get your recovery off to a good start. If a C-section is the furthest thing from how you envision your birth knowing about C-sections will have you prepared for anything.
The term epidural is basically used to encompass any type of anesthetic medication used for labor and birth. There are actually three separate procedures that can be done that are often lumped under the umbrella term, “epidural”. The three procedures are epidurals, spinals, and the combined spinal epidural. Different techniques, medications and doses all have different results and risks, so it is really important to talk to your care provider about what their policy and practice is, so you know what options you have when it comes to medications, and make the best choice for you and your baby. This episode explains what your options are for an epidural, what is involved in the procedure, how it will impact your labor, what the benefits and risks are, and the possible side effects.
Hospitals have become the go to place to give birth in many countries. About 98% of all births in the United States are in hospitals, so if you live in the U.S. there is a good chance that is where you are planning to give birth. Even if you are planning for a birth center or home birth knowing about your backup option is smart. Birth is not an all or nothing decision where you are either having a baby in hospital with tons of interventions, or having a baby at home with no interventions and incense burning in the background. There are an infinite number of options available to you to really prepare for and craft the birth experience you want. The key to getting the birth experience you want is being educated. Whether you are planning a cesarean section or will be having a natural labor you could do either in a hospital setting and this episode will help you get more familiar with what you expect in a hospital birth from the moment you arrive, through your labor and birth, until you are discharged and headed home with your new baby.
For most of our entire human history a mother in labor was free to move around and change positions to whatever was most comfortable and suited her best at the time. It really wasn’t until we made labor and birth a highly medicalized process that women began laboring on their backs in a bed. There are an infinite number of positions you can try during labor and there is no one size fits all. Labor will likely start at home and you can utilize many different positions to keep labor progressing and be as comfortable as possible before you even get to the hospital or birth center. No matter where you are giving birth, what your birth plan is, or what interventions you are electing to have, you have options. This episode has a lot of different positions to try with the pros and cons of each, and what the research says about the best positions for both labor and birth.
Electronic fetal monitoring is probably a topic that you don’t think you need to know anything about. Knowledge is power, and knowing how this works, what your options are, and how it can impact your labor, and even the outcome of how your baby is born is powerful. Although electronic fetal monitoring sounds pretty uninteresting it can have a bigger impact on your labor than you think, and you may have some different choices about it depending on your risk level and how you and your little one are doing during labor. During your labor and birth your doctor of midwife will be checking the heart rate of your baby. This is monitored because your little one’s heart rate is thought of as the best way to check their well-being during labor. The goal of using electronic fetal monitoring is to identify babies who are short on oxygen and then identify what the underlying cause is to correct it. Monitoring heart rate can also alert your doctor or midwife in the event an emergency arises in which the baby needs to be born immediately either via cesarean section or through an assisted birth.
Should you see a Midwife or OBGYN? Your care provider is the cornerstone of your prenatal care and choosing the right one can make a big difference on your birth experience. This is your expert resource that you will be working with throughout your pregnancy to make some very important decisions. You need to be comfortable with, and trust, your care provider. Both a midwife and an OBGYN offer prenatal care, assist in labor and delivery, and are qualified to give postnatal care. While they are similar, these are two different designations, and there are pros to each of them. There are also some situations in which one would be more appropriate than the other. This episode breaks it all down for you so you know the difference between a Midwife and an OBGYN, and know which one is the right choice for the pregnancy and birth you are planning for.
The majority of babies will get fed formula in the first year of their life and this episode has some great info on what your options are, what the ingredients are, and everything else you need to know to decide what formula is right for your little one. Since the inception of formula, manufacturers have spent a pile of money and resources trying to mimic breastmilk as closely as possible. All the ingredients that go into formula are in one way or another mimicking what is actually in breastmilk. Infant formula today is the best we have ever had available and it is continuing to improve over time. After breastmilk, formula is the next best thing. When it comes to choosing an infant formula you have a lot of options. Just walk down that aisle of your grocery store and you have floor to ceiling packages with brilliant marketing telling you that each formula is the best. So which one is the absolute best? I wish that were an easy answer, after listening to this episode you will have a much better idea of your options and be able to decide which one is right for your baby.