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Will it be weird if I want to be totally nude during labor?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Not at all. For some women, having clothes on during birth can feel distracting and restrictive. Taking it all off can leave your mind clear to focus on breathing, moving, or doing any other relaxation techniques that help you move through contractions. And no one supporting you during birth will think twice about you being naked. Doctors, nurses, midwives, and doulas are totally used to all states of undress when supporting a laboring mom.

To ensure you stay comfortable with your nudity during birth, be really clear about who is and who isn’t allowed in your birthing space. For example, if you don’t want your father-in-law dropping in when you’re doing naked hip swirls, let everyone know that no one is allowed in the birth space unless they get explicit permission from you.

What to do

Keep reminding yourself that there’s nothing wrong with being buck naked during birth. Then consider the following:

Put it in your preferences. Add the following line to your birth preferences: “I request complete privacy during birth. In addition to the necessary medical care providers, only the following people are allowed in the birth space [insert names].”

Tell your partner. It can be helpful to give your partner a heads-up about your desire to be nude, especially if you think they’ll be uncomfortable with it. But don’t let them dictate what you do and don’t wear during labor. You can give them the courtesy of a discussion, but you get the final say in what you wear.

Bring “just in case” birth clothes. It doesn’t hurt to have a nursing bra, robe, and loose, comfortable clothing on hand in case you feel like being clothed during certain phases of labor.

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birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

How to Stop Hating Your Partner During Pregnancy

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-48yqx-1222c14

Discover why it can be normal to kind of, sorta, completely hate your partner during pregnancy. And because it’s no fun to despise your special someone we also explore how to navigate the irritation and discord so we can start loving them again. 

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Will my vagina look like minced meat after a vaginal delivery?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

I’ll not mince words (hee-hee) — most vaginas look pretty beat up after vaginal childbirth. With all the stretching and potential tearing, the vagina won’t be easy on the eyes for a while. But the good news is, it won’t stay that way. Tears heal, and stretched skin (slowly) bounces back. The one thing that might be permanent is a darkening of your vulva, as it could experience a shift in pigmentation. So while your petunia will never look exactly like it did pre-childbirth, it will go back to a semblance of its former self after six to twelve months.

Something else to expect from the first few days of life after birth is that you will have heavy discharge. There will be lots of blood, mucus, and tissue coming out of you, requiring you to don a diaper-like pad. While the load will likely lessen within a week, you’ll probably need pads for four to six weeks.

What to do

If you’re squeamish, or if you experience more pain when focusing on a sore area of your body, don’t stick a mirror down there for a while. However, if you want to marvel at everything your courageous vagina went through, take a look — it’s pretty fascinating. And don’t be embarrassed by its appearance. The two of you went through a lot, and you’re allowed time to heal. Tummies are squishy, stretch marks are prominent, and vaginas aren’t pretty in that fourth trimester — and that’s okay. Be patient with your body, and grateful it helped you grow and birth new life.

Regarding how you can minimize tearing and make your perineum more elastic, check out the “What to do” section from question 63.”

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Is a vaginal tear as scary as it sounds?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

No. My perineum tore during birth, and I had no idea until they started stitching me up. And I didn’t have an epidural. But I get why women are horrified by the idea of a tear in one of the most sensitive parts of their body. It sounds awful. The thing is, the combination of a buildup of

endorphins, the numbness caused by the pressure of baby’s head, and the Goddess-like determination to get the baby out makes many women oblivious to a vaginal tear, regardless of whether or not they have an epidural.

To provide further insight about vaginal tears, here are answers to the most common questions I get about this topic:

How likely is a tear? It’s common for a first-time mom to tear, but again, you probably won’t even notice it until after birth. The recommendations in the “What to do” section can help reduce the likelihood of a severe tear.

How big are the tears? While tears range in size, they’re usually much smaller than we imagine. First-degree tears are only a few centimeters, while a fourth-degree tear (the most intense) is rarely longer than an inch.

How are tears repaired? Minor tears usually don’t need any repair beyond time and rest, while more extensive tears require absorbable stitches. The area will be numbed before the application of the stitches. In rare cases, anesthesia is used.

What is the recovery like? It’s not too bad — you just feel really sore for seven to ten days. Depending on severity, tears take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to fully heal. The “What to do” section provides recovery tips.

What to do

To help the emergence of baby be a gentler experience for your perineum, thus minimizing your chance of a severe tear, follow all the suggestions in the “What to do” section from question  (the one about pushing). I would especially focus on the perineal tissue massage — make it your part-time job starting around week thirty-four or thirty-five of gestation. It’s one of the best things you can do to make your perineum more elastic and less susceptible to tearing.

If you feel the fear of a tear might hinder your ability to birth with calm and confidence, listen to this fear-release guided meditation: yourserenelife.wordpress.com/fear-of-tearing/. I also recommend envisioning your perineum as a rose that gently and easily opens. You can also watch time-lapse videos of flowers opening, focusing on how easily their soft petals unfurl — there’s no strain in their bloom. As you do this, remember that your perineum was also designed to soften and expand when it’s time to bloom.

In regard to what to do after a tear, here are a few strategies for soothing discomfort and promoting healing:

Kegels: Attempting Kegels (even if you can’t feel them) promotes circulation, which can speed recovery.

Sitz bath: Soaking your perineum in warm water can ease pain and itching. You can also ask your care provider if there are medications or additives you can put in the water to aid healing. If you’d rather not bother with sanitizing your bathtub, purchase a sitz bath kit that fits in the toilet and allows you to dunk your perineum. As an added bonus, a sitz bath also works wonders on hemorrhoids! Yay!

Witch hazel pads: These medicated pad liners — soaked in witch hazel extract— are the vagina’s best friend, offering instant cooling relief when slipped in the underwear.

Anesthetic spray: In addition to the witch hazel pads, ask your care provider to recommend an anesthetic spray to numb the perineum.

Fiber: Your first bowel movement after childbirth might be nerve wracking. I felt certain I would bust my stitches and poop out my innards — but I didn’t, and you won’t either. However, the essential act of clearing your bowels could be uncomfortable if you’re passing hard stools. Soften up that poo by eating fiber-rich foods and drinking lots of water. You can also ask your care provider if they recommend using a stool softener the first few days after birth.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

The Wild Things That Happen In The Body During Pregnancy

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-p34eb-11c4d29

Discover the many fascinating ways the body supports a pregnancy. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

How Placentas Are Helping Cancer Research

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-k5qmc-11c4997

A glimpse into the research that’s being done on placentas to hopefully discover why the body allows cancer tumors to grow.

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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I want to have an orgasmic birth. Is it possible?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Yes, ma’am, it’s possible! But that might not mean having an actual orgasm. Only about 6 percent of women have orgasms during birth, and much of that is due to genetics — those ladies aren’t Aphrodite, they’re just lucky. According to a study in the journal Biology Letters, genes account for 34 to 45 percent of a woman’s ability to climax. However, it’s near impossible to know if you have orgasm-inclined genes. What you do know is how easy it is for you to have an orgasm. If you’re a climax machine, maybe your genes are helping you out, or maybe you just have your finger on the pulse of what turns you on. Whatever the reason, if it’s fairly easy for you to orgasm, you have a better chance of orgasming during labor. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost if you really have to work to get that pleasure-explosion — the “What to do” section will help you up your chance of floating in a sea of orgasms (or at least a little lake) during birth.

Beyond genetics, what’s the deal with orgasms showing up amidst an experience many tout as exceptionally painful? First of all, two of the regions in the brain that are active during orgasm — the anterior cingulated cortex and the insula — are also active during painful sensations (Oh hi there, contractions). In addition, orgasm and childbirth both produce strong surges of blood, oxytocin, and endorphins and stimulate the birth passage, cervix, clitoris, and vagina. So there you go — orgasm and childbirth aren’t the antonyms many believe them to be.

But now I want to shake up this question. I want to propose we shift the term orgasm to orgasmic. Because even if you’re not rolling in orgasms as you’re getting that baby out, you can still have a birth filled with euphoria, empowerment, transformation, joy, connection, and love: essentially, an orgasmic birth. Think about it — although we all love our orgasms, can’t you think of hundreds of instances in life where you weren’t orgasming but still felt incredible? You can bring that goodness into birth.

What to do

Set yourself up for orgasms during birth, and/or an orgasmic birth, by releasing preconceived notions about pain, shame around sexuality, and doubt about your ability to birth.

Prepare. Most women who have orgasmic births prepare thoroughly, often taking at least one childbirth prep class, reading the book Orgasmic Birth by Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro, and watching the documentary Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret. They then practice many of the techniques learned from these resources on a daily basis, specifically fear-release practices. As my grandma would say, they didn’t go into birth all willy-nilly.

Hold a belief in an orgasmic birth. Going into labor with the belief that an orgasmic birth is possible can transform your experience and make it more likely to lead to an orgasmic birth. As I mentioned, this orgasmic birth might not be filled with orgasms, but it will be composed of a trust that birth isn’t all about pain; can be infused with moments of deep connection with your body, baby, and partner; and can unleash a power and confidence that will make you feel like a total goddess. This type of birth is just as good (or at least almost as good) as a birth sprinkled with orgasms.

Examine your beliefs about sexuality. Did you grow up with a belief that sex and masturbation are taboo? If so, you’re not alone, and it’s not too late to reprogram. You can begin shifting your perceptions of sex and masturbation by first examining what your beliefs are, and where they came from. Are they things you actually believe on the deepest level? Or are they ideas planted by someone else? Next, connect with your sexuality in a new way by partaking in the art of masturbation, and taking note of what turns you on. What type of pressure and speed does it for you? Where do you like to be touched? Share your findings with your partner. Then, talk with them about getting more creative during sex by playing around with positions, dirty talk, eye contact, or anything else that piques your arousal. And finally, do the things you’ve just talked about.

To support this sexual reprogramming and awakening, listen to this guided mediation: yourserenelife.wordpress.com/orgasmic-birth/.

Edit key birth words. Remove fearful, constrictive terminology from your childbirth lexicon by making a few substitutions. Begin by swapping the term contractions (it sounds so restrictive!) with the word surge, as it sends more fluid, pleasurable messages from the mind to the body. And instead of saying or thinking the word pain when you’re having a surge, name the actual sensations you’re feeling. For example, “I feel a pulling up in my abdomen, a tightening in my back, and pressure in my vagina.” These swaps give you a better chance of tapping into the ecstasy that can live in childbirth.

Consider a birth center or home birth, or create a soothing hospital room. Because it’s easier to have an orgasm, or feel orgasmic, in a space that feels homey, soothing, and private, choosing to birth in a birth center or at home will likely increase your chance of having an orgasmic birth.

However, if the idea of birthing in a hospital comforts you, you might experience anxiety if you birthed anywhere else. If that’s you, think about how to transform your hospital room into a birth sanctuary. For example, you could bring battery-powered candles, a soft robe and cozy socks, a silk pillowcase, a portable speaker and playlist of relaxing music, an essential oil diffuser and your favorite oils, honey sticks, and anything else that comforts one of your five senses. In addition, hiring a doula can add an incredible layer of support to a birth in any location, but especially in a hospital.

Ask for complete privacy. You’re unlikely to have an orgasm while your midwife and her assistant whisper about birth stuff in the corner or a nurse checks your vitals. Up your chance of feeling free enough to let waves of pleasure wash through you by asking anyone you don’t feel comfortable moaning in front of to leave the room.

Stimulate your clitoris. Clitoral stimulation is one of the surest paths to an orgasm, and it can make you less sensitive to painful stimulation — it’s like a medication-free epidural. But many women are hesitant to masturbate during birth because they feel strange mixing this sexual act with bringing their baby into the world. There are two ways to get around this.

One, go into the bathroom for ultimate privacy, or as I just mentioned, ask everyone to leave the room, with the exception of your partner, if you’re comfortable with them being there or even helping you.

Two, if the sexual component of masturbation is tripping you up, change the way you think about it. Think of it as just another pain-relieving tool you’re using for childbirth. It’s not masturbation, it’s a “pain-soothing vaginal massage.” And if you really want to up your chances of reaching that sweet O, do as many women before you have done and use a vibrator.

Moan. When you feel yourself at the tipping point between pain and pleasure, let out long, low moans to release painful energy and call in euphoria.

Rub your nipples, and make out with your partner. These sensual acts awaken arousal and release oxytocin, which can speed up your birth by triggering more effective surges.

Breathe. As you feel a surge coming on, take in a long, deep inhalation through your nose, allowing your lower and upper abdomen to fully expand. When you reach full capacity, exhale through your nose at the same slow pace. As the surge intensifies, you’ll likely hit a “wall of resistance.” When this happens, your mind will try to trick you into thinking that continuing to breathe in and expand your abdomen will cause an explosion of pain. But the opposite is true. Continuing to inhale and expand will bust past that wall and help you access the relief that can lead to pleasure.

Remember that pain isn’t the enemy. Many have the misconception that an orgasmic birth is free of pain. But often an orgasmic birth consists of repeatedly coming to a tipping point between pain and pleasure, and swaying between both until you make the decision and take the actions to tip fully into pleasure. And sometimes you’ll tip into pain, and that’s okay. Pain isn’t a bad sign during childbirth, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong — it’s an organic part of the journey. When you can surrender to it, instead of resisting or fearing it, it often transforms. Almost every woman who has had an orgasmic birth will tell you that she danced with both pain and pleasure, and it made for a fuller experience.

Connect to an orgasmic energy orbit. Envision a never-ending supply of warm, golden energy spiraling down from the stars, becoming more and more concentrated as it swirls through your body. This energy is most potent as it moves through your uterus, out your cervix, and finally washes over your vagina and clitoris. Feel this energy activating your endorphins as it moves down. Train your mind and body to easily tap into this orgasmic energy by practicing this visualization every morning and evening.

Submerge yourself in warm water as much as possible. The relief that warm water provides allows your muscles to relax and become more susceptible to orgasmic sensations. If you don’t have access to a tub during birth, sit in the shower.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Why Some Women Get Aroused When Breastfeeding

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-r4jqy-11c497d

Learn the very normal biological responses to breastfeeding that can lead to women getting aroused, or even orgasming.

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

The Magic of Mother and Baby Swapping Cells During Pregnancy

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ptyes-11c4968

Discover the wonders of the phenomenon of fetomaternal microchimerism, which involves  maternal cells passing into the baby, and vice versa, during pregnancy. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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Is there any chance an epidural could paralyze me?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Yes, but it’s really unlikely. A study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia reported the estimated risk of permanent harm following a spinal anesthetic or epidural as less than 1 in 20,000. This risk is often considerably lower for women in labor, as they tend to be healthier than those people receiving an epidural because of illness or injury.

The rare times paralysis has occurred, it was because of direct injury to the spinal cord; a spinal hematoma, which is an accumulation of blood in the epidural space; or an epidural abscess, an infection between the outer covering of the brain and spinal cord. However, even these are circumstances that don’t always lead to paralysis.

What to do

If possible, don’t let fear over this miniscule risk stop you from receiving an epidural if you really need one. It’s more likely you’ll be struck by lightning than experience paralysis from an epidural.

In addition, be sure to tell the anesthesiologist if you have a blood clotting disorder or have been on blood thinners. This should all be in your chart, but it’s still wise to mention it.

If you feel an epidural is the right choice for you but you’re afraid of paralysis, ask the anesthesiologist to reassure you. Hopefully, they’ll be able to outline how experienced they are and what an excellent track record they have, and to explain that with modern-day training and tools, paralysis doesn’t need to be a concern.

They should also tell you which sensations to expect, and which to report, as the epidural is being placed. Many women experience stinging, burning, pressure, a sensation of coolness, or all of these in their back as the numbing medication is applied and the needle is inserted. It’s not

supposed to be too intense. (The worst part is having to hold still while you have contractions.) But if you have any of the following sensations, you should tell the anesthesiologist immediately:

  • Sudden loss of sensation in one or both legs
  • Sharp, shooting pain
  • Uncontrollable shaking in your legs
  • Intense hot flash
  • Anything else that feels “off ”

Relaxation tool: Download this guided meditation and listen to it as the epidural is being placed, or anytime throughout labor, to re- duce anxiety and enhance calm: yourserenelife.wordpress.com/epidural -meditation/.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

What To Do If You’re Jealous of Pregnant People When Facing Infertility or Pregnancy Loss

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-g6f45-11c4936

Tips for navigating the jealousy that can arise when you’re around pregnant people and are facing infertility or pregnancy loss. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

What Cord Blood Banking Is, And If It’s Worth It

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-yjrrw-11c4899

Learn about the option of cord blood banking, how it can impact your family, and if it’s worth the money. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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What is my care provider not telling me about Pitocin and epidurals?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Potentially, a lot. Because significant research is being done on these drugs, some care providers hesitate to share all the details because the data is always emerging and evolving. But there are also care providers who hold back information that has been well proven, in favor of supporting their agenda.

One mama I was the doula for (let’s call her Sasha) was told by the ultrasound tech at her doctor’s office that she had low amniotic fluid levels. When Sasha was retested at the hospital, she was told her fluid levels were normal. The on-call doctor said she and baby were healthy and good to go home. But when Sasha’s doctor arrived, he disagreed and insisted she be induced with Pitocin immediately. She asked why. He said, “Because your baby could die if you don’t induce.” Stunned, Sasha asked if Pitocin came with risks. “No,” he said. “The risks only come with not inducing.” She turned down the Pitocin, but he had scared her and she didn’t feel comfortable going home.

Sasha allowed this doctor to give her three rounds of Cervidil— a medication used to soften the cervix — over three days, but she stood her ground about not receiving Pitocin. Despite her and the baby’s continued health, the doctor kept suggesting she was putting her baby’s life at risk by not inducing. He wore her down, and she accepted the Pitocin. But it didn’t work. After twelve hours on it, Sasha had only dilated to four centimeters and was exhausted. The doctor insisted she get an epidural so she could sleep. The epidural gave her a headache so intense she could not sleep. When the doctor insisted on a C-section, Sasha fired him and hired a midwife with privileges, or permission to treat, at that hospital. The midwife gave her medication for the headache, and she was finally able to rest. I knew this midwife, and she pulled me into the hallway to share all the information about Pitocin and epidurals that the doctor had failed to provide. This is the summary of what she shared:

Regarding both drugs…

You’ll be stuck in bed. Once Pitocin or an epidural is started, you will need constant monitoring and will be connected to an IV, meaning it will be tough to move around.

You’re not allowed to eat. Because of concern over aspiration during an emergency C-section (which isn’t actually a risk if general anesthesia isn’t used), most hospitals won’t let you eat after receiving Pitocin or an epidural. While many mamas don’t have much of an appetite while on these drugs, this moratorium on food can lead to exhaustion if you have to be on them for an extended period.

It might not work. If you’re already having contractions, the Pitocin will likely make them stronger. But if you’re showing no signs of labor, Pitocin may do very little. And while an epidural almost always provides the desired effect of significant numbing from the waist down, it’s possible (although unlikely) that you receive little to no relief from it.

There’s an increased chance of cesarean birth. There’s something called a “cascade of intervention,” which implies that each intervention could lead to the need for another intervention. One of the ultimate interventions during childbirth is a C-section. While plenty of women who receive Pitocin and/or an epidural have a vaginal birth, both of these labor drugs might increase your chance of needing a C-section.

Regarding Pitocin…

Contractions might be so unbearably strong you need an epidural. Many women who do not want an epidural find that it’s a necessity after receiving Pitocin, as it can cause extremely strong (and painful) contractions.

Fetal distress could occur. If Pitocin creates contractions so strong and close together that your body and baby don’t have time to rest, the baby may not receive enough oxygen, which could lead to distress and the potential need for an emergency C-section.

Regarding an epidural…

You’ll likely need a catheter. Because you won’t be able to walk to the bathroom, a catheter is almost always inserted after the epidural has taken effect.

It could lead to a need for Pitocin. Sometimes, an epidural slows down contractions so much that Pitocin is needed to keep labor going.

It could extend labor. According to a study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, women with epidurals typically have to push for nearly two and a half hours more than women without epidurals.

Instrumental birth is more likely. Because it can be trickier for a mom with an epidural to push baby out (or breathe baby down), epidural use means a higher chance that forceps or vacuum extraction will be used to deliver baby.

You might have a drop in blood pressure. This could also make baby’s heart rate drop. However, the IV fluids you’re given before the epidural is placed reduce this risk.

Fever could occur. A study done by Harvard Medical School found that women who receive an epidural are more likely to develop a fever that could lead to the baby having poor muscle tone, a low APGAR score, seizures in the newborn period, and the need for resuscitation and evaluation for sepsis. The study also noted that high maternal fever has been linked to brain injuries like cerebral palsy.

You might get itchy. The opioids in the epidural may make you itchy, which can often be alleviated by changing the medication or giving you an itch-relieving medication.

Nausea or vomiting is possible. This is another potential side effect of the opioids in the epidural.

There might be breastfeeding complications. Because an epidural blocks oxytocin — the hormone that helps milk come in and facilitates bonding — it could cause breastfeeding challenges. In addition, a mom and baby impacted by an epidural are more likely to be drowsy after delivery, which could make breastfeeding more difficult.

A spinal headache might be triggered. A rare phenomenon, a spinal headache is caused by an accidental puncture being made in the bag of fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord when the epidural is placed. If spinal fluid leaks out, an intense headache ensues — it can last for weeks.

Nerve damage is possible. Another rare side effect is nerve damage caused by the epidural needle. If a blood vessel is damaged while the epidural is being placed (also uncommon), blood may collect and press on the nerve. This is one reason why women with a blood clotting disorder and those taking blood thinning medication may not be able to receive an epidural.

An epidural abscess is possible. In rare cases, women develop an epidural abscess, which is an infection of the central nervous system caused by bacteria entering the epidural space. According to the book Spinal Epidural Abscess, only 1.2 in 10,000 women experience this.

Those are the potential outcomes of Pitocin and epidurals that are widely recognized — the possible side effects your care provider should share with you. But what about the potential outcomes they won’t share? The outcomes that haven’t been conclusively proven, but are interesting to consider? Following are possible risks with labor drugs still being researched, as of 2020:

There is a possible increased chance of baby developing autism. Limited research has found that babies of women who had Pitocin and an epidural during labor were 2.77 times more likely to exhibit an autism phenotype. Because not all babies of women who received labor drugs in these studies went on to develop autism spectrum disorder, it’s believed the drugs must interact with other factors to cause autism. These other potential factors are being studied.

There is a possible link between Pitocin and bipolar disorder. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that babies exposed to Pitocin during birth had 2.4 times increased odds for developing bipolar disorder than babies not exposed to Pitocin. They also found a potential connection between Pitocin and cognitive impairment in childhood.

While this is compelling research to keep an eye on, I don’t believe it’s a reason to turn down labor drugs if they’re really needed. Both studies acknowledged that continued research is needed.

So what happened to Sasha? She had her baby, after crazy-high amounts of Pitocin were used to force her body into labor, and the epidural was kept in for over twelve hours so she could handle the abnormally strong contractions. She had a vaginal birth but was exhausted and dissatisfied with her birth experience. She and baby both had an infection, which a nurse suspected was caused by all the vaginal exams Sasha received over four days in the hospital. When we processed the birth experience, Sasha said she never would have said yes to the labor drugs if the doctor had provided all the information.

On the flip side, I’ve been to many births where Pitocin and epidurals were used after the mother received all the up-to-date information and made an informed decision she felt good about. But the key here is receiving all the up-to-date information. While this section provides a jumping off point for arming yourself with information, ongoing research means this information is ever changing. There’s a lot you can do to make sure you’re getting as much current data as possible.

What to do

Ask a lot of questions before saying yes to any intervention, and don’t let anyone brush away your concerns or questions. Demand thorough answers.

Here are questions to help ensure you’re well informed about your unique situation and options:

Is this an emergency? If the situation is actually an emergency, the care provider should be able to succinctly state why it’s an emergency, and what the wisest course of action is. This is the primary reason we have care providers at birth — in case of an emergency.

Is there an evidence-based medical reason you’re recommending this intervention? If so, explain it to me. Some care providers recommend an intervention based solely on their personal experiences, and not on evidence-based research. This is fine if they’re up-front about it, but you can better understand where the recommendation is coming from by including the term evidence-based in your question.

Is this intervention really necessary? What are the alternatives? An article published in the Journal of Perinatal Education reported that when these two questions are asked, the rate of unnecessary intervention significantly drops. It’s believed this occurs because these questions inspire meaningful discussion that allows the mother to make a well-informed decision.

Can you give me time alone with my birth companion so we can discuss this? This one’s in the form of a question just to be polite. If it’s not an emergency, the caregiver should absolutely give you privacy to make a decision with your birth companion.

After you’ve received all the information, make a decision that feels right for you. Maybe your questioning revealed that an epidural, Pitocin, or both could actually minimize your chance of needing a C-section. Or maybe you determine the potential benefits of receiving the labor drugs aren’t worth the risk. It’s not a black-or-white choice — the decision to accept or reject these drugs is never “right” or “wrong.”

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

The Many Wonders of the Placenta, And If You Should Consider Eating It

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-a572q-11c488a

Discover fascinating facts about the placenta and what you might experience if you consume it after childbirth. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

The Mystery of Lactating Men

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-xgrvx-11c487b

A look into the circumstances that can lead to men producing breast milk. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

Uncategorized

I keep hearing that everyone ends up getting an epidural. I want an unmedicated birth, but should I just give up hope?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

No way! While women who had unmedicated births used to be like unicorns in places like the United States, birth norms are changing. Childbirth preparation classes and books that teach the power of the mind-body connection, fear release, and how to wield our innate ability to find calm in the face of intensity are helping women who want to have an unmedicated birth to have one. And if you don’t really want one, or if you change your mind about wanting one in the middle of labor, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s also important to know that really, really wanting one doesn’t guarantee you’ll have one. You have no way to completely know how your birth will go. However, dedicated preparation will give you a much better chance of having that unmedicated birth.

Let me tell you about Stella. She raved about unmedicated birth but wasn’t planning on taking any classes or practicing any pain relief techniques. She wanted to wing it. She ended up with an epidural. Of course, she might have needed an epidural even if she had thrown herself into preparation, but she came to me afterward saying, “I felt totally unprepared. I had nothing when the big contractions came. I felt like they were eating me.”

When Stella became pregnant two years later, she signed up for my HypnoBirthing class, my online course Childbirth Preparation: A Complete Guide for Pregnant Women, and a Birthing from Within class. She also loaded up on books. Stella became a dedicated student of unmedicated birth. She was so curious and so passionate about practice.

A week before her due date, she told me, “While I still want an un- medicated birth, I don’t think I have to have one to be happy with my birth. I feel really satisfied by all the prep I’ve done — it’s made my pregnancy more enjoyable. And the best part is, the classes have helped me feel so empowered and confident in my unique journey that I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. I don’t need the ‘unmedicated medal’ I’m pretty sure I was striving for the first time around.” Stella had an unmedicated birth. But I believed her when she said she would have been satisfied either way.

I share all that to emphasize that while an unmedicated birth is absolutely possible and it’s not a foregone conclusion you’ll have an epidural, much of the wonder of wanting an unmedicated birth lives in the preparation. With that in mind, consider the ways to prepare listed below.

What to do

Find a type of preparation you jive with, making sure it’s a method that provides tools for an unmedicated birth. HypnoBirthing and Birthing from Within are my favorite options. After you find your class . . .

Practice the techniques. In addition to practicing the breathing, mas- sage, and movement techniques as often as possible (I recommend practicing a minimum of one tool every day), put significant focus on the mental and emotional support your class provides. Many of the biggest barriers between a woman and an unmedicated birth are in the mind. Working the practices that help you replace negative, fearful beliefs about birth with hopeful, inspiring messages can remove those barriers. One of my favorite parts of the mental and emotional work found in many (good) classes is that they spill over into the rest of life. For example, after doing the HypnoBirthing fear-release practices, I felt like I had gone through intensive therapy.

Let it go. After you’ve done the preparation and go into labor, let it all go, trusting that your birth will unfold in the way it’s supposed to. And as I mentioned before, that might not be an unmedicated birth, but that in no way means you failed or didn’t prepare enough. It just means that for whatever reason, your birth needed to take an unexpected path.

Remember, if that’s how it shakes out, those folks who were sure you’d get an epidural don’t get to say, “I told you so.” No way. No one has the right to make you feel shame about your birth experience. You deserve to feel pride in your body’s ability to move through birth — even if birth involved Pitocin and an epidural, or a C-section. Your body still went through so much and should be worshiped as the powerhouse it is.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Why Moms Can Have Scary Thoughts After Birth

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-fe7qm-11c4867

An interview with psychologist Megan Rudd Van Alstine on why moms can have scary, intrusive thoughts in the early days of motherhood and what to do about them.

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂