In the first hours after your baby is born, skin to skin contact, and keeping the mother with the baby at all times is something hospitals, and parents should be practicing everywhere. Unfortunately it is not as common as it should be, especially in U.S. hospitals.
I have been using a lot of the Mothers Advocate videos lately, and I wanted to share another on this healthy birth practice which fits into the 6 healthy birth practices of Lamaze. I think a blog post with a short video, or picture is always more appealing to readers, right? Haha!
But why is it so important that we keep our babies with us and have skin to skin contact with our newborns in the first hours after birth? In the first hours and moments after a baby is born, they are going through an amazing transition into a whole new world. From the safety and space of your womb to a big new world with bright lights, noises, and new people.
Some of the new activities your babies is learning is how to breathe air, suck, swallow, and regulate their own temperature outside of the womb. Doesn’t sound like it is a lot for them to do, but it is. As mothers we should want to make this transition for our babies as easy as possible.
So what are the benefits of having skin to skin contact after a baby is born?
These are all big plus’s for mothers right?
But what about my sleep? Why can’t I just send the baby to the nursery for the night and rest up till I get home, then I can do this whole skin to skin thing right?
Wrong! Studies show that mothers who give birth in a hospital and have their babies room in, get just as much sleep as those mothers who are sending their babies off to the nursery for the night. These same studies have shown the babies who went to the nursery often have more issues breastfeeding, making the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby much more difficult.
But what if my hospital doesn’t allow this?
If your hospital cannot bend to accommodate a mothers wishes, especially something as simple as skin to skin contact after birth, or postponing most newborn evaluations, look for a new hospital that is more mother and baby friendly. It is never too late to change the birth venue.
Today, childbirth has become more of a medical procedure than a natural function of our bodies. Many women who do have a desire for a natural birth are often looking for resources and information on how to achieve that experience. A great resource I have come across several times in my journey to becoming a childbirth educator in recent months is a website called Mother’s Advocate. They offer a wonderful plethora of videos aimed to help in the teaching process.
The video I am going to use today is Avoiding Unnecessary Interventions, while writing a little of my own thoughts.
Realistically, if you truly want to avoid the common hospital interventions, the best place for you to give birth is either at home, or a child birth center. In my experience personally, it can be an uncomfortable or stressful fight with hospital staff to avoid simple things like an IV line. But it all goes back to birthing where you feel comfortable.
What are some of the common medical interventions during birth?
Most of which are unnecessary in many of the cases we see them in today, an IV for example. The purpose of an IV could be cut by simply allowing a woman to eat and drink during labor. Recent studies show that there is no need to starve a woman while she is in labor.
Constant electronic fetal monitoring is also overkill in low risk women, in recent years The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has shown that in the 40 years electronic fetal monitoring has been the norm, there has been no improved outcomes in mothers or babies. Of course like anything, there are some situations when necessary, but mostly in high risk cases.
Epidurals for those who choose to use them for labor can be the right fit, but they are not risk free. Epidurals can slow labor, or pose other risks to mothers and babies. There are various ways to help relieve the pain of labor.
Pitocin can cause contractions, but it can also cause contractions that are too strong resulting in fetal distress, or the cascade of interventions.
Skipping these common Interventions :
There are several ways you can go about skipping the routine hospital interventions listed above. Some of the ways you can do that are :
All of these can help to lower your changes of these common medical interventions having an impact on your desire for a natural birth.