Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Importance of a Birth Plan

Are birth plans important? Why do I need one? Many expectant moms have been told that they should have a birth plan but they struggle with questions about how to make one and what to include. I'd like to share a story with you that I think will help you understand the importance of a birth plan. One of my clients who was 38 weeks pregnant with her first baby asked me to go to her ob. appointment with her. She was planning on giving the doctor her birth plan and wanted me to be there. I thought her birth plan was well done and not out of the ordinary. She wanted to be free to move around during labor, intermittent fetal monitoring, a hep lock instead of an IV, no episiotomy. She was healthy with no complications so these were not unusual requests. After her exam she showed the doctor her birth plan and asked him to sign it. After reading through it he proceeded to tell her line by line why she couldn't have any of the things she had requested. He told her that he had been delivering babies a very long time and he would know what she needed. He told her to just sit back and let him drive this plane and not to start getting bossy now that they were almost to the end of her pregnancy. I promise you this is a true story. Of course my client was devastated. We talked about her options and she decided she wanted to change doctors. There are very few doctors that will accept a woman after 32 weeks of pregnancy. Fortunately, her story had a happy ending. She found a supportive doctor who allowed her to have the birth she wanted. I tell you this story to encourage you to make a birth plan and share it with your doctor hopefully in your second trimester. This will allow you to know whether you and your doctor are on the same page about your desires for birth. It also will give you time to make changes if you find that your plan for the birth is not acceptable to your doctor. Here is a link to a great online birth plan generator http://www.birthplan.com/

If you have a birth doula she is also an excellent resource for helping you decide what to include in your birth plan. Doulas usually include help with your birth plan as part of your birth package. If you are struggling with what to include in the birth plan or just have questions please feel free to contact me. I will be happy to help.

Monday, April 20, 2009

S.A. Doula Recommended Reading List

Many of the families I work with ask me for my opinion about the best books to read to get ready for their birth and new baby. I wanted to share with you some of my recommendations.

  • I personally feel that every pregnant woman should read, "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer. This book informs women on the pros and cons of all of their labor choices. She covers the latest research on everthing from prolonged first stage labor to vbac. Another great book to prepare for birth is, "The Labor Companion", by Penny Simkin. This book is a wealth of information on coping strategies for labor.

  • If you are planning to breastfeed you baby and only have time to read one book choose,"Breastfeeding Made Simple", by Nancy Mohrbacher. It truly is simple, easy to understand and has wonderful pictures.

  • I know there are tons of books out there on infant care, feeding & sleeping. The book that I really love is, "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer", by Tracy Hogg. It is full of practical advice that is fun & easy to read. I wish I had this book when my children were babies! Another resource that I highly recommend for new parents is, "The Happiest Baby on the Block" dvd by Dr. Harvey Karp. He shows parents how to use five simple techniques to activate their babies calming reflex. I have used this with many fussy babies and it truly does work. My clients demand for this dvd was so great that I became a distributor.

I hope that these recommendations will help to get you started preparing for the amazing journey of parenthood. As always please feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.

Friday, April 17, 2009

VBAC Births in San Antonio

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find doctors who are willing to do vbac births in San Antonio. Sadly, many moms feel like their only option is a scheduled c-section. I wanted to share a recent wonderful experience I had at a vbac birth with my client. When I met Julie she was expecting her second child and was interested in hiring me to be her birth doula for her second birth. She has a three year old son who was born by cesarean after 3 long hours of pushing. Julie is 5'2 and Tate was an 8'11 ounce baby. Julie had recovered physically from her cesarean but emotionally she still struggled with feelings of failure. After much soul searching and very little encouragement, she and her husband had made the decision to try and have a vbac with their second birth. Julie was under the care of the Lonestar Midwives who deliver at St. Lukes Baptist Hospital. Fortunately for Julie she was at one of the few vbac friendly providers here in San Antonio. Although, dozens of studies report that for women who have had one prior cesarean birth with a low-horizontal incision, the risk of uterine rupture is less then 1%, many physicians will not allow women a trial of labor due to the liability risk. Julie and I met several times prior to her birth and talked about places she had gotten "stuck" in her labor. We talked about ways we could handle those situations differently. After talking, Julie felt that delaying/avoiding an epidural was very important for her and that pushing on her hands and knees was crucial to be able to push out her large baby. Julie worked hard learning relaxation breathing and relaxation techniques. She used the Hypnobabies vbac relaxation cd. Many of my clients have used this program with good results. I am happy to report that Julie vaginally delivered her beautiful son after a very manageable 18hr labor. She delayed getting an epidural until 7 cm. After an hour of pushing on her back she insisted on pushing on her hands and knees which was the key to her success. I hope this will be an encouragement to any moms who desire a vbac delivery. The success rate of vbac birth is around 70%. That means that 3 out of 4 women can successfully delivery their baby vaginally. If it is your hearts desire to deliver your baby vaginally it is definitely possible!