Posts Tagged ‘ Midwife ’

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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Lotus Birth: Crazy Fad or the Most Natural of Births?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

WARNING: You might not want to read this if you just ate! I was fascinated in an I- can’t-look-away-from-the-horrific-traffic-accident sort of way by a piece on xoJane written by a woman who had a lotus birth.

What the heck is a lotus birth, you ask (as did I)? It’s when the umbilical cord isn’t cut after childbirth so that the baby is left attached to his or her placenta until the cord naturally falls off—which could take up to a week.

To put this in perspective, most umbilical cords are usually clamped and cut within the first few minutes of a baby’s life as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of maternal hemorrhaging. Recent studies have shown that delaying clamping for at least a minute significantly improves iron and hemoglobin levels in newborns and does not increase the risks to mothers. The World Health Organization believes you can wait even longer, and recommends clamping and cutting the umbilical cord between one and three minutes after birth because of the iron benefits passed onto the baby (but beware that delaying clamping can sometimes cause the baby to develop jaundice, caused by either liver trouble or an excessive loss of blood cells).

There are no findings that the lotus birth improves the health of a baby since the placenta stops pumping oxygen, iron and stem cells to the infant after approximately five minutes. In fact, many physicians believe a lotus birth could cause infections if the umbilical cord isn’t properly cared for and watched closely since it’s basically dead tissue full of blood—a breeding ground for bacteria. Despite that, lotus births are becoming more and more popular.

According to moms who are doing this, there are two main perks. 1) The placenta is said to be a comfort to the newborn, since it has been in the womb with the baby throughout the pregnancy. 2) It helps the immediate bond formed between mother and child since the child needs to be kept close because the umbilical cord and placenta are still attached.

Depending on your point of view, this may be the most insane thing you’ll ever read, or you might think it’s the most natural, beautiful way to look at childbirth. I tend to lean towards this being a teensy bit nuts! Not to mention really unsterile (even though the mom says she went through painstaking measures to “wash and wrap the placenta everyday to keep it clean,” even placing it in a waterproof pouch.

Often lotus births go hand-in-hand with unassisted births, where the moms choose not to have a midwife or doctor present during the child’s birth—just her partner. Though I find that to be a romantic idea, just you and the one you love bringing this baby you two created into this world all by yourselves, I would be too paranoid something would go terribly wrong that I’d never even consider that as an option.

One might say I’m being too squeamish about childbirth (maybe!), and that a woman’s body knows what it’s doing—it’s like turning on cruise control in a car! But I don’t see any lotus births in my future. Ever!

TELL US: Would you give unassisted lotus birth a try? 

Image of mom and baby courtesy of Shutterstock.

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C-Section Boom: All About the $?

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Money the Motivating Factor in More Cesarean SectionsA scary new study suggests the high number of cesarean sections may have more to do with doctors’ greed than the patient’s need. According to a story by NPR, “about 1 in 3 babies born are now delivered via C-section, compared to 1 in 5 in 1996. During the same time period, the annual medical costs of childbirth in the U.S. have grown by $3 billion annually.” That’s worth repeating: an increase of $3 billion—that’s with a “B”!

In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists found that in many cases, doctors are paid hundreds more for performing a C-section over a vaginal delivery, and hospitals can be paid up to thousands more.

Health care economists Erin Johnson and M. Marit Rehavi hypothesized that OBs might be less likely to perform C-sections for financial incentives if the patients had significant knowledge about childbirth and its risk factors. So they looked at how many doctors had C-sections while giving birth to their own kids as opposed to non-doctors—who would likely know much less about whether a C-section was the right birth method for them.

The findings were that in cases where financial incentives were involved, pregnant doctors are about 10 percent less likely to get C-sections than their non medically-trained counter parts, which points to the fact that when armed with knowledge about whether a cesarean section is really necessary, women are likely to push back if they think it is more of a doctor’s elective surgery.

In situations when vaginal delivery is first tried, and for whatever reason doesn’t go as planned, women without a medical degree are more likely to have cesareans—which makes sense because during that time all you hear is “there is a problem,” and the rest of your mind shuts down. You of course trust your doctor and presume he or she knows a hell of a lot more than you do in this situation, so in most cases you are going to do exactly what they say.

Interestingly, in instances where doctors were paid flat rates whether they did a vaginal birth or surgical birth (so there were no benefits to the doc for performing a c-section), pregnant physicians actually had more C-sections than non-doctors, which could mean that when there aren’t financial incentives doctors are less likely to give women c-sections (often a longer and more difficult procedure) even when they need them.

Neither the study nor I are saying that all doctors are evil or that they would all do an unnecessary surgery just for the extra bucks. But the reality is that it does happen, whether subconsciously or not. So the best thing you can do for your and your baby’s health is to read up as much as you possibly can about births and emergency procedures, or even hire an impartial doula or midwife if you can afford it (many insurance companies don’t pay for them), so if and when you are put in that situation you can make the most informed decision possible.

TELL US: Do you believe doctors would be more likely to perform a cesarean section because of the bigger paycheck? Do you suspect your doctor steered you into having one?

Image of doctor courtesy of Shutterstock.

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12 Hours of Labor (and a Baby Boy!) for Kate Middleton

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Kate Middleton Gives Birth in About 12 Hours of LaborAfter Kate Middleton and Prince William arrived at London’s St. Mary’s Hospital around 5:30 am London time, and got settled into the super-posh private Lindo Wing, nearly 11 hours later Great Britain has a new prince, the Prince of Cambridge to be exact!

The third in line to the throne (behind Prince Charles and Prince William—and before Prince Harry) was born at 4:24 pm, weighing in at 8 lbs, 6 oz. The Prince was brought into this world in true royal fashion, in a luxury $9,000 a night suite that included an individual birthing room, birthing pool, satellite television, radio, internet access, daily newspaper deliveries and a personal safe. And for the parents and their guests, the Lindo Wing comes equipped with a catering staff, complete with a wine list and champagne to celebrate the happy occasion!

Contrary to reports, Kate’s mom Carole, a trained midwife, was not on hand in the delivery room.  While most moms-to-be only see their OBs sporadically throughout their labor, at this high-end facility and with the royal heir waiting to come out, you can be sure that Kate’s every request was catered to by the nursing staff and her two doctors (the Queen’s former gynecologist and her current one).

Though we don’t know exactly what time Kate officially went into labor, the birth was at least 12 hours in the making—which isn’t bad for a first-time natural birth (she was not induced even though she was said to be past her due date). Perhaps Kate’s prenatal yoga paid off? She reportedly had been seeing a private yoga instructor at least one day a week for close to her entire pregnancy. Building core strength through yoga is said to help with both pushing and breathing during labor.

As expected, the official Royal announcement has been placed on an easel outside of Buckingham Palace for all the world to see. Now that His Royal Highness has arrived, we can all start obsessing over what his name will be! That news likely won’t be released for days. Congrats again to Kate and Will!

While we wait to hear the new Prince’s name, check out pics of Kate’s pregnancy and baby’s new family, or watch Rosie Pope’s tribute to the new royal baby.

TELL US: How long were you in labor with your children? Any tips you can share with first-time moms?

Image of the official birth announcement courtesy of The British Monarchy’s Instagram.

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