Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Confident Birthing with Shining Light Prenatal Education: Making Mindful Decisions Regarding Labor Induction

by Sarah Davis

Having a baby soon? Wondering about what prenatal classes you should be taking and where? In this blog, I share some highlights from the second class of Deena Blumenfeld's"Confident Birthing"workshop at Shining Light Prenatal Education, which I highly recommend if you live in Pittsburgh. In this particular class, we covered the topic of labor induction. 

Last week, I attended the second of the four classes of Confident Birthing at Shining Light Prenatal Education with Deena Blumenfeld.  The main focus of the second class is whether or not you should get induced and the correct and incorrect times to do so.  Deena points out that while there are valid and very serious medical reasons behind the situations when you should get induced, often times, mothers opt to be induced for other reasons, like scheduling issues or convenience. One of the main lessons that I took from this class was: let your baby choose his due date, unless of course, there are serious medical concerns.  The more time they have to "cook" in the womb- the healthier they will be at birth.  

One of the first topics that we jumped into during class that I found to be extremely interesting is that there are other factors that determine the progress of your labor, other than dilation, which is the main factor everyone always talks about.  In fact there are four total factors to consider: dilation, station (location of the baby's head in relation to your pelvis), position (of your baby), and effacement (how thin the edge of the cervix is). She goes over each of these in detail and how if any of these change, you are progressing, but it is common to only think you're progressing if you are dilating! I encourage you, if you aren't familiar with these terms (like I was at the beginning of the class), to look them up and do some research. Asking questions about these topics will help you to decide if you should get medically induced.  

Deena also goes over, in great detail, the many ways doctors can medically induce you (as well as at-home-remedies you can do yourself) which I loved to hear about.  The only "induction" medicine I was really aware of before this class was Pitocin, but there are other medications doctors use.

This class is great because it teaches you things you can do to get your labor progressing on your own (and with your partner, of course). And, these things are easy and simple! These are simple things like walking and doing lunge exercises.  I know that for me, personally, I feel the most comfortable giving birth in a hospital because it comforts me knowing doctors are around to jump in, but I also don't like to take medication unless I absolutely have to. With that being said, learning about what I can do on my own before I make any decisions on medical interventions is very important to me and a big part of why I wanted to share what I learn throughout my pregnancy journey on the blog.

Overall, I am so grateful to have this knowledge because as a first time mother, I didn't know a lot about labor inductions before hand. I also didn't really know where to jump in with researching on my own and exactly what to study because it is so new to me. There is so much contradicting research out there about childbirth that goes back and forth between hospitals trying to push Pitocin on expectant mothers and natural birth, so it is so important to study up on the terms your doctor will use and the potential medications he might mention as options for you. Knowing about what is happening in a situation that will be so new to me gives me a little more confidence for the day I deliver, too, because there are times when you should be saying YES to a labor induction. It is just a matter of knowing beforehand when those times would be.

I want to leave you with a few facts from the class that I found to be beneficial to learn:

-The average first time mother gives birth around 40 weeks and 5 days! (So, doesn't that mean Kate Middleton should be due by now?!)

-At 35 weeks, your baby’s brain is only ⅔ the size it will be at full term. Doesn’t this put things into perspective much better when thinking about the final weeks and days of pregnancy?

-45% of Pitocin-induced labors end up in C-sections.  Pitocin increases stress on your baby and makes contractions harder to manage.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends “cautious decision making” when considering this drug.  

These are just a few highlights from the second class of Deena Blumenfeld’s “Confident Birthing” workshop. If you are pregnant and interested in this class, you can sign up for this class with Shining Light Prenatal Education.  Each class is 3 hours long and packed with so much valuable information that when the class is over, you’ll be surprised three hours have already passed.  I highly recommend this to all of you, for right now or in the future if you plan to have a baby.   

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