Posts Tagged ‘ Epidural ’

When Is the Right Time to Get an Epidural?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

If you’ve ever requested an epidural in childbirth, you know that you want that pain relief just as soon as you ask for it. And new research suggests that, indeed, the very moment you ask is exactly the appropriate time to get it.

A review published in the Cochrane Library looked at the effects of epidurals given early in labor versus late, and found they were very comparable.

Researchers reviewed data from nine studies, for a total of close to 16,000 first-time mothers, who were randomly selected to receive their epidurals early or late in labor. The data showed that the administration of earlier epidurals had no impact on the chances of deliveries requiring the use of forceps or suction, or to the amount of time moms spent pushing.

Some previous studies have suggested that the timing of an epidural can play a role in prolonging labor, as well as up the chances the mom-to-be could end up with a c-section delivery.

On the contrary, the study’s head researcher Dr. Ban Leong Sng wrote, “The right time to give the epidural is when the woman requests pain relief. If they request an epidural early during their labor, the evidence we have does not provide a compelling reason why this should be refused.”

Did you opt for an epidural, and did it affect your delivery outcome?

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Labor & Delivery: Epidurals
Labor & Delivery: Epidurals
Labor & Delivery: Epidurals

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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No Epidural for Mila Kunis! Her Birth Plan Revealed

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Mila Kunis is taking future mommyhood very seriously. Besides practicing prenatal yoga to make sure she and baby are as healthy as possible, the actress revealed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she plans on having a natural birth. “I did this to myself, I might as well do it right,” she said.

That is quite the controversial statement—one that could get many a mama and mama-to-be in an uproar. Obviously, there’s more than one way to give birth, and natural birth isn’t for everyone. But apparently daddy-to-be Ashton—who is learning Russian, Mila’s native language, so they can raise their child to be bilingual—is being super-supportive of the decision, even watching birthing documentaries with her. (Um, can you say best dad-to-be ever?!).

“We looked into the midwife aspect of [birth], spoke to my OB/GYN and realized the hospital I’m going to be laboring in does have a midwife, you know, doula type of thing,” she said. “So I’m gonna do it as all-natural as I possibly can unless there’s an emergency or something [goes] wrong.”

Good for her! But note to Mila: there actually is a difference between a midwife and a doula. Midwives (who can range in credentials from non-accredited to certified midwives and certified nurse-midwives) take the place of an ob-gyn, and they deliver the child.

Labor doulas are more like birth coaches. Unlike nurses or doctors, a doula is in the room at all times during the birth. Her job is to educate the mom about the birth process and help her relax during what can be a stressful time—through using nonmedical techniques to lessen labor pains, like massage, a birthing ball or getting into various positions rather than just being flat on your back. She is also an advocate for the parents when all of this new, crazy information about childbirth is swirling around them, explaining step-by-step what’s going on throughout the birthing process. The biggest difference, though, is that a midwife is there to focus on the baby, and a doula is there to focus on the mom.

Whatever Mila’s final birth plan entails, I hope her labor goes smoothly!  It’s a lot of work, but the end prize—a beautiful baby!—is well worth the effort.

TELL US: Are you planning on hiring a doula?

Image of Mila Kunis courtesy of Featureflash/Shutterstock. 

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Are Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Trying to Get Pregnant?

Monday, March 10th, 2014

That’s the question on everyone’s lips after Latham Thomas, who runs the pregnancy website Mama Glow, tweeted Thursday, “Highlight of my night – speaking about natural birth, home birth, & doulas with Justin Timberlake @jtimberlake & @jessicabiel.”

While Latham said Jessica is not pregnant—and she sure didn’t look like she had a bun in the oven at the Oscars in her form-fitting Chanel gown and her recent birthday was in a restaurant’s wine cellar in Miami—he said, “She’s a supporter of natural birth, doulas, and midwives. We talked about it for hours.”

I have to say, before my husband and I started talking about having a family, I would have been completely uninterested in all of the above. After deciding we were ready, on the other hand, I couldn’t read enough about my birth options. So there might be something to the rumor that JT and JB are ready to become parents since they are certainly doing their research if they’re talking to a birth expert for hours!

Though natural birth—without pain meds—sounds like a nightmare for a lot of women, those who get an epidural (as the majority giving birth vaginally in the U.S. do) actually have a greater incidence of needing birth interventions, such as vacuum extraction and delivery by forceps, or even a c-section, according to a recent study in National Vital Statistics Reports. An epidural can also mean short-lived but scary side effects for mom, including low blood pressure, headache, and fever. Women who skip the meds instinctively push, rather than exerting when they are told, which mean less pushing and less tearing too, and an overall shorter birth. So if you learn pain-reducing techniques and can handle the pain, in many ways you’re better off without an epidural.

If Jessica has a home birth using a midwife, she’ll certainly be on trend. Home births are at an all-time high. Home births jumped by 29 percent from 2004 to 2009, and now are thought to be at an all time high, though still only about 1 percent of women choose to give birth at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, home births are most common among women over the age of 35 who have already had at least one child. The biggest increase was in non-Hispanic white women. About 1 in 90 births in that segment of the population is now a home birth. But before deciding on a home birth, do your research. Recent data, also released by the CDC, found a growing number of infant deaths among babies who are birthed at home.

Using CDC data collected from 14 million infant births and deaths, the research team learned that the rate of newborn deaths was greater for home births delivered by midwives (12.6/10,000 births) compared to births delivered by midwives in a hospital (3.2/10,000 births). The death rates were even greater for first-time mothers having a midwife delivery at home (21.9/10,000 births). Births in a hospital–even if delivered by a midwife, were still safer than home deliveries.

In addition to having a midwife or OB, lots of women are now choosing to also include a doula. Doulas are professionally trained birth coaches, who offer prenatal education and emotional support to the mother, and serve as an advocate for her while in labor. My experience with a doula was amazing, she put me and my husband at ease before and during the birth, and was there to explain things in more detail since the OB and nurses were more often out of the room than in it.  (See which stars have used doulas here).

TELL US: Share your experiences with natural births, home births and doulas with us! If you haven’t had your baby yet, tell us what’s included in your birth plan.

Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital

Image of Jessica Biel courtesy of Joe Seer/Shutterstock.

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HOW Long Does It Take to Have a Baby?!

Friday, February 7th, 2014

As it is, childbirth is a super-scary unknown for first-time moms. Of course you want the cuddly prize at the end. But the step-by-step pain and suffering that gets you said cutie? Not so much. Not to completely freak you out, but the bad news—according to a new study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco—is that a healthy birth can actually take much longer than doctors originally thought.

Usually, OBs intervene and try to speed up labor if it doesn’t seem to be progressing in a timely manner. Often, that’s based on the length of the second stage of labor. As reported in the New York Times, anything over three hours for first-time moms, who’ve been given epidurals, is considered “abnormally long,” as is more than two hours for first timers without an epidural (Yes, getting an epidural seems to prolong birth, but doctors warn not to jump to conclusions, because longer labor could be caused by other factors that influence whether a woman chooses an epidural rather than the epidural itself).

The thing is those times used to judge what’s normal versus dangerous are based on outdated data from decades ago when fetal monitoring was pretty non-existent, medical interventions were the norm, and on average pregnant women were younger and weighed less. According to this new study that compared data from over 42,000 women who delivered children between 1976 to 2008, a normal second stage can actually be more like 5. 6 hours for first-time moms using epidurals and 3.3 hours for those without epidurals; 4.25 hours for women receiving epidurals, who’ve previously had children, and 1.35 hours for repeat moms who didn’t use an epidural. Ugh!

Before I scare you to death, there is a silver lining! If longer second labor is normal, fewer drugs, forceps, vacuums, and C-sections may be needed than previously thought. Now doctors are quick to jump the gun and want to intervene. Not without cause, though. Longer labor does mean increased risk of tearing and postpartum hemorrhage (neither of which sounds very comfortable!). But C-Sections—which are now used for about one in every three births in the US, an increase of nearly 50 percent over C-sections used in the mid-1990s—can also come with big risks for mom and baby.  So even though the thought of labor taking even longer is hard to swallow, the need for fewer C-sections is something to celebrate!

TELL US: What’s your biggest childbirth fear? Would you rather have a longer birth, or a C-section? Share your experiences below.

Find everything you need for the perfect nursery at Shop Parents.

Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital

Image of mom and newborn courtesy of Shutterstock.

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DROP DEAD DIVA Star Dishes on Her On and Off-screen Pregnancy Secrets

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Drop Dead Diva PregnancyKate Levering plays the tough-as-nails, succeed-at-all-costs attorney Kim Kaswell on Drop Dead Diva, who found out at the end of last season that she’s—gasp!—pregnant. While Kim is always impeccably dressed, she’s not always the nicest. So I was relieved to find that Kate is the exact opposite of her TV alter ego. Though equally ambitious, Kate’s not at all bitchy—even when she’s allowed to be, because she’s just weeks away from giving birth (she’s due in August) and she’s filming in Hotlanta. In summertime, people!

More like a chatty best friend than someone on a hit TV show, Kate was happy to talk about all things pregnancy—including the fact that she’s due with a boy, had a fun “safari chic” baby shower, and is now in full-on nesting mode, but can’t do much about it because she’s filming in Atlanta, while her husband, Reza, and unfinished nursery are in LA!

Read on to find out how Kate’s off-screen pregnancy has influenced her on-screen one, what she thinks of everyone bashing former guest star Kim Kardashian for her pregnancy weight gain, and why she’s warding off an epidural. Yes, really!

Is it true your character, Kim, got pregnant before you did?
Yes! It’s life imitating art, but I like to say I’m just that good of an actress that the writers wrote it, and I made it happen in real life!

So you didn’t have to wear a fake belly like most actresses playing a pregnant woman?
No, in fact because our filming schedule was pushed back from February to May, I showed up way more pregnant than my character was supposed to be so I spent the first few episodes holding a lot of folders in front of my belly and sitting behind desks. I even had one emotional scene where I just sort of hugged a pillow the whole time. We had to get creative!

How is Kim pregnant: extra bitchy or has pregnancy softened her?
A little bit of both. She’s really been thrown a curve ball and she’s in denial that she’s pregnant. She’s such a workaholic and she’s not very maternal, and at times we see her about to crack, which is nice because we’ve never seen that side of her character before. So there is some vulnerability revealed as well as she gets extra bitchy to people. It’s kind of like a regular pregnancy, where you’re just all over the place!

Did being pregnant make it easy playing a future mom?
Yes, I didn’t have to try hard because I already had the waddle down and was subconsciously rubbing my belly, so it was perfect.

How has it been working such long days when being pregnant is already exhausting?
Well, I’m only doing eight episodes instead of the full 13, and the crew has tried really hard to keep me hydrated, make sure I’m not on my feet too much, or wearing heels for too long. Someone is always right there with a chair in between takes. So I can’t complain. I’ve actually had a really enjoyable, carefree pregnancy. I keep joking with my friends that I should have been way more high maintenance because now my husband thinks being pregnant is a breeze. I should have milked it!

Women take to pregnancy differently. Some feel confident and feminine. Others can’t help being self-conscious and moody thanks to the hormones. How have you been so far?
Watching my body change has made me feel the most feminine, confident and sexy I’ve ever felt. Although, now I’m getting down to the end where you can’t tie your shoes or shave your bikini line so then you start to feel not-so-sexy. But I’ve loved being pregnant. Now I’m worried that I’m going to become one of those women who’s always knocked up!

So much has been made about pregnant women in the news: Kim Kardashian was criticized for “getting too heavy,” Kate Middleton was said to be “too small.” What do you make of all the talk?
I think it’s really sad that women are being made to feel bad during what should be the most special time in their lives. I worked with Kim Kardashian on the show and she is the tiniest thing with these great curves. She didn’t look anything like Kate Middleton to begin with, so why should their pregnancies be compared? When you’re pregnant, you have no control over what happens to your body and where the weight goes, so why make women feel bad about themselves? I think that’s awful. Pregnancy should be celebrated!

What’s been the best part of expecting?
Feeling my baby kick for the first time was the most incredible emotion I’ve ever felt. Even feeling my baby kick now—all the time—that excitement never goes away.

What’s been the most surprising?
That people aren’t more willing to help you when they see that you’re pregnant. I was flying and my belly was huge, but no one offered  to put my carry-on in the overhead compartment. So next time you see a pregnant woman, if you’re not pregnant yourself, offer to help her!

Now for the big question: Epidural or no epidural?
I probably shouldn’t say this in case it doesn’t go as planned, but I’m not planning on having an epidural. I have a midwife, and I’ve read Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth. I think our culture has scared women to death when it comes to childbirth, which is something so natural and beautiful that we shouldn’t be frightened of it. But talk to me after I give birth!

Tune in Sunday, 6/23, to see Kate in all her pregnant glory (no stunt belly required!) for the fifth season premiere of Drop Dead Diva at 9 pm ET on Lifetime.

TELL US: Are you excited to see Kate’s character pregnant on Drop Dead Diva? What real-life pregnancy symptoms do you hope are played out on TV?

Image of Kate Levering courtesy of Paul Smith.

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