Archive for the ‘induction’ Category

Scavenger Hunt Contest

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Preparing for Birth is having an online scavenger hunt to ring in December.

 

You could win this cute pocket diaper.

 

Here is the scavenger hunt:

Answer:

1)      How many births has Desirre Andrews attended?

2)      Name a doula that is working through Preparing For Birth?

3)      How many on average gel capped pills can be made from a placenta?

4)      What breast pump brand does Preparing for Birth have for sale?

 

Answer these and provide a link to the source:  

5)      What is the most common risk of induction?

6)      What is an evidence based reason for induction?

7)      What is the Bishop Score used for?

8)      What are Daniel Berwick’s three principals of patient centered care?

 

Find:

9)      A picture of a child nursing in a funny position.

10)   A picture of artwork that’s at least 100 years old depicting a woman in labor.

 

Bonus Questions:

1)      What is your favorite pregnancy or childbirth related blog?

2)      What is your favorite pregnancy or childbirth related book?

Send your entry to nichole@prepforbirth.com by 9pm Wednesday December 5th.

The winner will be announced Thursday, December 6, 2012, and must be able to pick up the prize in person. Everyone who enters will get a coupon for a free birth or postpartum plan session with one of the doulas from Preparing For Birth.

Know Your Score – Before an Induction

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Knowing your Bishop’s score prior to agreeing to an induction when not medically necessary or setting the stage for a medically necessary induction can make a great difference in expectations, additional interventions and understanding for the process as a whole.  Knowing your score can help you determine the type of induction or whether or not to be induced at all.
Your score is based on a vaginal exam that takes into consideration the areas listed in the chart below.


Dilation, Effacement, Consistency and Position all have to do with your cervix. Station is telling where the presenting part of baby is in relation to the ischial spines. (sitz bones).

Are you a good candidate for induction based on your score? Do you need a ripener? Are you a VBAC mother?  What other factors are working in your favor or against success?
Induction is not an easy or guaranteed process. You can see the criteria toward success is telling even without discussing the additional risks leading to additional interventions, medications and/or cesarean.

Additional links and information on induction can be found in this previous post http://prepforbirth.com/2009/08/12/preparing-for-labor-induction/.

Technology and the Prenatal “Diet”

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

In westernized countries, television and the internet have almost completely replaced the generational teaching and learning found in the “circles” of the past. Women would gather over sewing, quilting, canning, and life events including pregnancy and childbirth. They offered support, told their stories, spoke of family life, shared their everyday knowledge, wisdom and expertise while the children played at their feet.

At first glance it seems that through these technologies women are able to gain vast amounts of incredible knowledge regarding childbirth.  There are very popular websites, message boards and forums to meet and greet other women who are expecting the very same month.  Any topic is available to explore. Excellent places for a sense of community and belonging. The information is so prevalent that some women even eschew childbirth classes because they feel well enough prepared from all the exposure. Fantastic to be sure, at first glance.

Upon a deeper look  with a critical eye at the most popular shows and on-line communities, it becomes pretty obvious that overwhelmingly the messages and scenes actually have little to do with real encouragement and instilling confidence in a woman’s design and inherent ability to birth.

Let’s start with the satellite/cable television shows on the learning and health channels. Stop for a moment and think of what occurred during the last episode you viewed.  Did you see a spontaneous labor from entry to hospital to birth without augmentation, epidural, or any other intervention except for intermittent monitoring and perhaps a saline lock (IV port) placed? Was it an induction with an epidural? Was it a cesarean or a vaginal delivery? Did she have adequate support? Was her background given in any detail? Who made the decisions? What about informed consent? Was the laboring woman paid attention too or were the machines heeded more? What sort of comfort measures did she employ? Was she ever out of bed? Who delivered the baby?  What response to her baby did the mother have? Who saw her baby first? With that clear memory in mind, how did you feel after viewing it? What thoughts came to your mind? Now consider that essentially all of the births shown take place in a hospital. In fact any birth that does not, is often touted as extreme or some other like descriptive.

Let’s move on for a moment.

Now let’s take a look at the most popular pregnancy websites, message boards and forums where women connect with one another.  The “conversations” and threads are filled with all things related to the impending birth. Chatter about baby showers, maternity leave, body changes, vaccinations, previous experiences, breastfeeding, nursery preparations and so much more. Really anything under the prenatal sun. Inspecting further though, there seems to be an inordinate amount of discussion regarding the need for scheduled inductions and cesareans and very little conversation or even support for natural or spontaneous labor and birth.

With intervention appearing to be the ruling majority within the technological communities and filling the television, how is a pregnant woman feeding her eyes, heart, and mind on this type of diet supposed to feel confident, uplifted and excited about her upcoming birth? I am uncertain that she can with the seeds of inadequacy, fear, brokenness, helplessness, and lack of options being sewn into her being at such an alarming ratio.  Sometimes yes interventions are needed, however, in practice it isn’t a need for many women and babies.

These shows and internet locales are like junk food. Like all junk food they are not to be an integral part of a healthy prenatal “diet” that will be encouraging, expand useful knowledge, grow confidence, spark self-advocacy, promote self-awareness, ignite excitement, and offer joy to the expecting mother.

How can an expecting mother improve her “diet” regardless of the type of birth she is planning? What are the better places to “shop”?

  • Turning off the TV
  • Check out and attend local groups and support meetings. Educational sessions and workshops are often free of charge. For example: Doula Groups, ICAN, Midwifery Groups, Birth Network, Birth Circles, and similar.
  • Try some different message boards, forums and sites. See Blog Roll and Resources listed on this site.
  • Seek out positive free videos to watch on You Tube.  http://prepforbirth.com/2009/07/30/birth-videos/
  • Talk to women who have birthed in the hospital, birth center and at home. Get a variety of positive stories.
  • Try some different reading on for size. http://prepforbirth.com/books-videos-and-more/
  • Rent or borrow movies from Netflix, a doula or childbirth educator, such as, Business of Being Born, Pregnant in America, or Orgasmic Birth to name a few.
  • Take the challenge to learn about and be open to the variety of birthing techniques, locations, options and provider types that women are utilizing.

Bottom line, the most prevalent “food group” in a diet is going to positively or negatively affect the parts and the whole of the journey to having a babe in arms.  No matter what the mother and baby live with the outcomes from the birth. Enriching the prenatal “diet” is not a guarantee of outcome or path to the birth. It does however give much more possibility and opportunity for both mother and baby to have a better birth and start together.

Rethinking the nature of intervention in childbirth

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

There is much awareness and conversation of what the routine interventions are that can occur during the labor and birth process within the hospital environment.  These interventions can include induction, augmentation with Pitocin, epidural, or cesarean. In all my professional and personal roles, I am privy to a great amount of pregnancy and birth stories. Within these experiences there are many “silent” yet obvious interventions that are hidden in plain sight under the guise of protocol, practice and societal expectation.

My current list of hidden in plain sight interventions in no particular order that can make a difference on how a woman labors and ultimately delivers her baby is below.

  • The uniform -Asking and expecting the mother to give up her clothes for the hospital gown.
  • Who’s on first? – If care provider is part of a large practice or on-call group a woman may have never met or have any knowledge of the person who’s practice style and philosophy is helping to guide and steer her labor and delivery. On-call CP may or may not adhere to the birth plan the laboring woman worked out with her own CP.
  • On a short leash – Continuous monitoring even if she is not high risk, medicated, or being induced/augmented.
  • The big drag around – Requiring IV running with absence of medical need.
  • Staying put – Asking or requiring the laboring woman to stay in bed for ease of staff without medical need.
  • Ice chips and Jello – Disallowing snacks and sometimes even actual water even though labor is hard work.
  • The marketing tool – Disallowing the laboring woman to get into the touted tubs or showers since it isn’t convenient for staff and she will not want to get out.
  • One is enough – Limiting the amount or type of support persons a woman is allowed to have with her.
  • I know more than you – Treating the laboring woman as if she knows nothing or shouldn’t know anything.
  • If you don’t… – Instead of giving informed consent and refusal, telling only what bad could, maybe happen.
  • Attitude and atmosphere – Negative, non-listening, lacking compassion, leaving the door open, ignoring requests, and the like when a woman is laboring.
  • Only if you ask – Though some wonderful practices are in place, they are only offered if a laboring woman or postpartum mother ask/insist on it.
  • Bait and switch – The official tour of labor and delivery and the reality of labor and delivery don’t fit together.
  • New with bells and whistles – The pretty with all the fancy bells and whistles like wi-fi, flat screen tv’s, etc. have to be paid for somehow. Because of this investigate the intervention rates there.
  • Routine vaginal exams – By and large VE’s are very subjective and can vary greatly between one person to the next on how they score a VE. This variation can deeply affect the course of a woman’s labor and delivery.  Women birthing in the hospital really only “need” a VE upon entrance for assessment of where she is in labor, if she desires an epidural/IV narcotics, if she is having a very prolonged labor, or if she feels pushy.
  • Pushing the epidural – When a woman is moving, moaning, making noise or just doing her thing in labor and it causes the staff discomfort or worry.  It could even be that anesthesiologist is going in to surgery and it can only happen now.

Simply because a societal norm is birthing at the hospital, as well as, what routinely goes on there, doesn’t mean the hidden in plain sight interventions are wise or harmless.

My goal here is to give pause and broader thinking to what intervention means for labor and delivery as another tool in planning and preparing for childbirth with eyes wide open.

Preparing For Birth: 35+ and Pregnant

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Hourglass

The disturbing trend in treating ALL  “advanced maternal age”  mothers (over 35 at the time of impending birth) high risk continues to grow despite lack of evidence to do so.

My original post from 3.5 years ago still rings true today.

They are being subject to weekly Biophysical profiles or Fetal Non-stress tests tests that are normally reserved only for high-risk mothers and babies from as early as 32 weeks in pregnancy.  On top of the scans, these mothers are often pressured to agree to an early delivery of their babies by means of labor induction or cesarean even without other risk associations.  This is growing more and more prevalent especially for women over 35 who are first time mothers.

I have heard even from women that at their first OB appointment they are being told they will be induced at 39 weeks as a standard of practice and expectation for signing on with said provider.  The seed of fear and worry is being planted that their growing baby will die if the pregnancy goes to 40 weeks or longer.  What a way to start out a provider/mother relationship.  I would call that a red flag of immense proportion.

So what really is the big deal with “old” mothers?  This study Advanced Maternal Age Morbidity and Mortality correlates various medical issues with “AMA” mothers though the biggest hot button is an elevated yet unknown cause of perinatal death.  This statement alone has caused a huge shift in the way these mothers are viewed regardless of  overall pregnancy health and absence of any known risk associations. ACOG’s February 2009  Managing Stillbirths maintains there is a risk to older mothers with no explanation as to why there is a risk, what the percentage of  risk increase is or any prevention protocols.  Seems dodgy since the other groups noted in the bulletin have all the data included.

There are some serious problems with any practitioner taking this study and applying it across the board to “AMA” women.  The study even says so much, “It is important to note that the findings of this study may not be generalized to every advanced-maternal-age obstetric patient in the United States. Although the FASTER trial patient population was unselected, meaning that patients were not excluded based on any confounding factors such as race, parity, BMI, education, marital status, smoking, pre-existing medical conditions, previous adverse pregnancy outcomes, and use of assisted reproductive care, there may have been significant patient or provider self-selection.” So the population could have been skewed from the get go by provider or patient selection, along with the fact that it seems the only point of homogeneity is present in that most of the women were Caucasian.  Throw all these women in a pot and see what happens?  Next step is to make protocols and change practice style upon weak findings?

The study also shows an increased risk for cesarean by “AMA” mothers.  “As with prior literature, this study demonstrated that women aged 40 years and older are at increased risk for cesarean delivery. Older women may be at increased risk for abnormalities of the course of labor, perhaps secondary to the physiology of aging. It is possible that decreased myometrial efficiency occurs with aging. Nonetheless, maternal age alone may be a factor influencing physician decision making. It is uncertain whether the increased rates of cesarean delivery are due to a real increase in the prevalence of obstetric complications or whether there is a component of iatrogenic intervention secondary to both physician and patient attitudes toward pregnancy in this older patient population.” Very interesting. So “old” women are perceived as being unable or problematic so they have less successful vaginal birth outcomes. Now that is a self-fulfilling practice style with a huge dose of ageism thrown in.  I also wonder what the cesarean rate in this age grouping is going to be due to these protocols.

Let’s get to the perinatal and neonatal death risks.  The study says: “Studies regarding an increased risk for perinatal mortality in women of advanced maternal age have been controversial. In this study, the increased risk of perinatal mortality was not statistically significant for patients aged 35–39 years (adjOR 1.1). Age 40 years and older was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of perinatal loss (adjOR 2.2). There were only 119 stillbirths and 37 neonatal demises in total. As a result, we could not draw any meaningful conclusions about the etiology or timing of perinatal mortality in women of advancing maternal age. The reason that advanced-maternal-age patients may be at increased risk of perinatal mortality is unknown. The failure of uterine vasculature to adapt to the increased hemodynamic demands of pregnancy as women age is a proposed explanation. So in conclusion, we have no idea why this might occur and have no way of counseling “AMA” mothers to lower the risk especially those over 40. Another noteworthy thought is that this study had 79% under 34 year old women, 17% 35-39 year old women, and only 4% women over aged 40.  So with such a small grouping ALL women considered “AMA” are being put under very heavy handed protocols to delivery their babies in the 39th week of gestation.

In closing, I find it difficult to believe that anyone who reads this study would change practice style because of it and move pregnant patients who are otherwise maintaining a healthy pregnancy without risk associations to a high risk model of care. Amazingly the study itself says the same thing, “In summary, the majority of women of advanced maternal age deliver at term without maternal or perinatal adverse outcomes.” And, “The role of routine antenatal surveillance in women aged 40 years and older requires further investigation because these women seem to be at increased risk for perinatal mortality, including stillbirth. Although the likelihood of adverse outcomes increases along with maternal age, patients and obstetric care providers can be reassured that overall maternal and fetal outcomes are favorable in this patient population.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Since the original posting – - – instead of women being told they must be induced in the 39th week they are now being “offered” non-medical, cesareans as a first course of action.  This sort of pressure is not evidence-based or even medically ethical in my opinion.

Preparing For Birth: Labor Induction Myths

Friday, September 11th, 2009

It never ceases to amaze me why women are induced for labor.   I have compiled a list of commonly heard “reason” for an induction occurring.  Interestingly none among them is true.  The true reasons for induction is a very short list (shown at the end of the post) and only a small percentage of women will fall into those categories.  So all you pregnant mamas out there, induction beware because you may have something listed below said to you.

Compilation of “reasons” for induction:

  • My doctor says I have a small vagina.
  • My husband can’t miss any school or he gets kicked out (heard from both Police Academy AND Fire Academy wives).
  • I have already met my deductible for my insurance this year. Don’t want to have to start over again.
  • I want the tax deduction this year.
  • Because my doctor is going out of town.
  • Anesthesia allergy:  She ended up with an epidural, and then a c-section.
  • You are an older mother and your baby will die if you are not delivered by 39 weeks.
  • You are very small and there is no way you can birth a baby past 40 weeks or 7 lbs.
  • Your feet are very small.
  • Your amniotic level is really low. Only an 8 AFI at 41 weeks.
  • doc: “your first labor was pretty fast so let’s go ahead and induce you so you don’t end up having the baby on the highway on your way in”
  • I was told induction was recommended at 41 weeks because the placenta starts to deteriorate and stops working. Tell it to my 41 +4 day baby. I guess she was living on borrowed time those 4 extra days.
  • Doc to mom “I am going on vacation and you want me there for sure for your delivery!” Mom is 39 weeks.
  • To avoid a cesarean.
  • To avoid an epidural.
  • The pitocin is JUST like you make so it makes no difference.
  • It is completely safe.
  • You have a 50 minute drive to the hospital – it’ll save you the stress of worrying about making it in time. (First time mom)
  • My family is coming from out of town and I want to know when to tell them to be here.
  • I’m GBS positive and they want to make sure they get all of my antibiotics administered before I deliver…
  • It is a holiday weekend.
  • Baby is getting too big!
  • Because my husband works 30 minutes away and if I have a fast labor he might not make it in time!
  • Because I’m going to have a ‘huge’ 8 lb. baby.
  • Because I’m a teacher and I want as much time as possible with the baby so I’ll get induced earlier in the summer….
  • Because after 37 weeks, there is no benefit to staying in–the baby doesn’t do anything except gain weight (that one from a doctor!)
  • Low-fluid levels.
  • Way too far past your expiration, I mean “estimated due date.”
  • Too big for gestation.
  • Too SMALL for gestation.
  • Because you are so tired.
  • Because you look miserable.
  • Vacation times not congruent with labor patterns.
  • So you can pick your baby’s birthday.
  • So you can plan ahead.
  • Because it is more convenient.
  • Since you are planning the epidural anyway.
  • Because it is easier.
  • Because there is no risk.

Mother beware!  There are only truly a small amount of reasons evidence shows for an induction to take place.

  • Uterine infection
  • True pre-eclampsia
  • Prolonged rupture of membranes (longer than 48-72 hours)
  • True labor dystocia
  • Post dates past 42 weeks*
  • diabetes (gestational included) if compromising fetal or maternal health

Without the true need for induction the likelihood of cesarean nearly doubles.  Some of the risks or consequences of any induction include:  more need for an epidural, overly strong contractions, failure of induction, distressed baby, distressed mother, placental abruption, continuous monitoring, lack of mobility, the feeling of illness, longer labor, very fast labor, traumatic labor and delivery, and IV fluids.

In the event the word induction is brought up, the mother needs to be aware of the common yet myth filled reasons behind it and that it is alright to say no.  The mother ultimately is responsible for the outcomes.  She and her baby have to live with the results.  Waiting for baby to press start in the absence of medical need for induction, is nearly always the best way to go for mom and baby.

*If a woman knows exactly when she conceived and estimated due date is not solely based on ultrasound and guessing, fits the “average” menstrual and ovulation cycle length, and if she does not have a family history of post 42 weels and beyond pregnancies this can be reasonable.

Preparing for a medically necessary labor induction

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Labor induction is increasingly on the rise, however, even ACOG has a limited statement on what is a defines medically necessitated labor induction.  This is generally defined as gestation or chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, diabetes, premature rupture of membranes, severe fetal growth restriction, and postterm pregnancy (postterm dates are defined generally after 42 weeks gestation though protocols and practice style is often after 41 weeks).  There are varying opinions in the birth world of what is truly medically necessary so always research your options and need.

Induction is not a panacea, it only sometimes works, is more challenging than naturally occurring labor and is often long.  I hope my suggestions and information can help you be more well equipped when it is the best solution for you and your baby.

So you do need to be medically induced, how can you prepare?  Do you need cervical ripening prior to the induction as well ?

Start with the type of induction you need.

Ripening is for a cervix that is not ready for using pitocin for induction purposes (see Bishop’s score below). Ask your care provider what your score is.  If he or she does not use the Bishop scoring ask for the particulars of each of the five categories then you can use the table yourself.  The position category denotes the position of your cervix.

Are you a good candidate for induction? Do you need ripening too?

Are you a good candidate for induction? Do you need ripening too?

If you need a ripener prior to the induction, you have two common options (Cytotec or Foley Catheter) though there are more available (Cervidil or Prepadil), they are not widely used any longer.

Foley Catheter ripening is a mechanical ripening method that requires no medicine therefore has very little negative consequence related to the usage. The catheter is inserted in the cervix, then filled with saline to fill the end of the bulb and mechanically opens the cervix up to approximately 4 cm’s while the foley is in place. The mother will go home until the catheter falls out or will remain in the hospital overnight.  The pressure from the foley catheter promotes continual prostaglandin release that encourages the effacement and works in conjunction with the mechanical dilation to open the cervix.  When the catheter falls out, unless it prematurely dislodges the cervix is ripe and ready for induction (pitocin usage). Sometimes the mother is already in early labor and may not require pitocin or require less.   For more information and studies regarding foley cather ripening view my blog page http://prepforbirth.com/2009/07/20/foley-catheter-ripening-versus-medication-studies.html.

The most common yet riskier method of cervial ripening is the use of Cytotec (Misoprostol).  Cytotec is used in an off label manner for ripening the cervix. ACOG has this to say in the revised new guidelines that include seven recommendations based on “good and consistent scientific evidence” — considered the highest evidence level — including one that sanctions 25 mcg of misoprostol as “the initial dose for cervical ripening and labor induction.” The recommended frequency is “not more than every 3-6 hours.”  Though this drug has been shown to be successful for ripening it is not without concern, consequence, risk or controversy.  Please do your research ahead of time prior to allowing this drug to be used on you and your baby.

Here are some helpful links:

http://www.aafp.org/afp/20060201/fpin.html

http://www.petitiononline.com/cytotec/petition.html

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/458959

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Making+an+informed+choice:+Cytotec%5BR%5D+for+induction-a0128063329

Your cervix is ripe for induction

The most common next step is the use of Pitocin to induce labor contractions. What to expect: an IV with fluids running, continuous monitoring, and limited mobility. The increased pain and stronger than usual contractions over a longer period of time associated with Pitocin use often leads women to ask for epidural anesthesia. There are varying protocols, but the low-dose protocol is most often used today.  Induction is not fail safe, you may or may not respond to “tricking” your body into labor.  Your baby also may not respond favorably.  In the event the induction fails or causes maternal or fetal distress or host of other complications, a cesarean delivery is the next step.

Here are some helpful links regarding Pitocin.

http://www.rxlist.com/pitocin-drug.htm

http://www.corninghospital.com/Educate/Pit.htm

http://pregnancy.about.com/od/induction/a/pitocindiffers.htm

http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?id=4975#section-4

Rethink how you pack your birth bag

Considering the length of time that you will be at the hospital  considering adding the following items to your birth bag.

  • Movies (make sure your hospital provides DVD players or you will want to bring one of your own)
  • Puzzles of all types
  • Cards
  • Games
  • Books
  • Laptop Computer
  • Extra changes of clothing
  • Extra food for husband, partner or labor support
  • Extra cash
  • Ear plugs and eye covering to make sleeping easier
  • More comforts from home to be soothing

Points to think about

  • You are having a baby and need to do the work of labor completely at the hospital. ONLY allow those who can help you keep the chaos and interruption to a minimum.  This is not a party.
  • Turn of cell phones.
  • Keep room comfortable, peaceful,  and stress-free.
  • Having your water broken artificially does not mimic it naturally breaking.
  • Use the space provided and get on the birth ball, stand near the bed and sway, use rocking chair, have equipment moved closer to bathroom so you may sit on the toilet, use as many positions as possible to help baby negotiate and to help dissuade a mal-position.
  • Induction increases the risk of a cesarean delivery becoming necessary whether from the induction failing (fooling a body into labor isn’t as easy as it sounds), maternal/fetal distress or another complication may arise.  Here is a sample cesarean delivery plan in the event it becomes necessary.  sample-cesarean-plan

My closing thought to you is take a deep breath and know when medically necessary an induction is a reasonable step.

My hope is for you to be well informed, be confident to ask questions, be strong to make your own decisions, and thrive to a successful birth even when Plan A isn’t an option anymore.

Radio Interview on Whole Mother show – Cesareans, VBAC & Prevention

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Here is the radio interview I did with Debbie Hull of the Whole Mother Radio show.  We talked about the current percentage of cesareans, VBAC availability, where to obtain support, ways to prevent an unnecessary cesarean and much more!

http://archive.kpft.org/mp3/090803_063001wholemother.MP3

ACOG refines guidelines for fetal monitoring in labor

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

ACOG recently updated guidelines for fetal monitoring in labor.  They call it a refinement.  Very interesting.

Directly from the press release “Since 1980, the use of EFM has grown dramatically, from being used on 45% of pregnant women in labor to 85% in 2002,” says George A. Macones, MD, who headed the development of the ACOG document. “Although EFM is the most common obstetric procedure today, unfortunately it hasn’t reduced perinatal mortality or the risk of cerebral palsy. In fact, the rate of cerebral palsy has essentially remained the same since World War II despite fetal monitoring and all of our advancements in treatments and interventions.” That is an increase in use by 89% with what benefit to mothers and babies? More cesarean?  More interventions and managed labors? Perinatal mortality hasn’t decreased.  Shocking really.   So for the needs and most likely benefit of the truly high-risk moms and babies all women have been subjected to more and more electronic monitoring in labor resulting in more morbidity for mothers and babies.

Apparently a big issue is that there are huge discrepancies in interpretation when assessing the FHT strips by physicians. There was a group of 4 physicians who initially assessed 50 FHT tracings and only agreed 22% of the time. Then two months later the same 4 physicians were asked to re-assess the same 50 tracings and their own evaluations varied nearly 1 in 5.   I have heard this over and over anecdotally from labor and delivery nurses through the years.  That no one can agree.  That the variance is so great.  Better to treat just in case whether by interventions or a cesarean.  I have been told that even a 40 hour course on FHT assessment leaves one without any clear advancement of skill or knowledge. The training actually left one individual less inclined to trust assessment.  So how does this comfort the expecting woman? Knowing that the machine that rules so much of labor and delivery in combination with the human element is so fallible.  Now that is non-reassuring in real life application.

So what can be done?  Unless there is a real high-risk situation that needs to be addressed, ask for intermittent auscultation with a handheld doppler or even better with a fetascope.  When a nurse, midwife or doctor actually listens personally to a baby with a fetascope there is no machine interpreting sound. It is with their own ear and skill assessing your baby.

The other thing to remember is keeping away from routine use of  induction, narcotic use, and epidural use in labor can greatly improve the opportunity to remain low-risk and healthy.  Thus not requiring continuous fetal monitoring.

I only touched on a few aspects of the new guidelines.  For a more complete breakdown of the refined guidelines, the NY Times did a nice piece.

ACOG revises labor induction guidelines

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

uterobaby

(Originally posted July 2009. Information still relevant.)

ACOG released a press release today regarding a new practice bulletin revising labor induction guidelines.  Though the practice bulletin is not available on the ACOG site, a detailed review is available by Medpage today.  I hope to soon have the full copy to share.

Some high points I found in the explanation and review of the revision:

  • Misoprostol (Cytotec) should not be used to induce any woman with a previous uterine surgery or cesarean due to the increased risk of uterine rupture.
  • The Foley catheter is a reasonable and effective alternative for cervical ripening and inducing labor (as stated in my blog earlier this week).
  • The recommendation for fetal demise is for induction rather than cesarean unless unusual circumstances present as it is associated with maternal morbidity without fetal benefit.
  • ACOG also states that the assessment of “gestational age and consideration of any potential risks to the mother or fetus are of paramount importance for appropriate evaluation and counseling before initiating cervical ripening or labor induction.”
  • Admitting to this fact – At the same time, there have been a number of reports linking the induction of labor with increased risk of adverse events including uterine rupture and meconium-stained amniotic fluid.
  • “A physician capable of performing a cesarean should be readily available any time induction is used in the event that the induction isn’t successful in producing a vaginal delivery,” notes Dr. Ramin. Although rare, there are potential complications with some methods of labor induction. (perhaps less inductions that are for lack of medical reason will be done if a physician must induction sit?)
  • Post cervical ripening whether by medication or mechanical once the cervix is dilated, labor can be induced with oxytocin, membrane stripping, rupture of the amniotic membrane, or nipple stimulation. (using an alternative like nipple stim interesting)

 

 

Some low points I found in the explanation and review in the revision:

  • The new guidelines include seven recommendations based on “good and consistent scientific evidence” — considered the highest evidence level — including one that sanctions 25 mcg of misoprostol as “the initial dose for cervical ripening and labor induction.” The recommended frequency is “not more than every 3-6 hours.” (I want to see these studies)
  • ACOG said that the data on the safety of high-dose misoprostol (50 mcg every six hours) were “limited or inconsistent,” making its recommendation on high-dose misoprostol an evidence level “B” recommendation. (again studies please)
  • The practice of inducing labor has become more common. More than 22% of pregnant women undergo labor induction, ACOG says, and the overall rate doubled from 1999 to 2006. (once again – only 22% – this one I need to research)
  • Rapid delivery or lack of access to good care at home as a potential reason to induce labor in rural areas.

More possible low points:

  • Low- or high-dose oxytocin regimens are appropriate for women in whom induction of labor is indicated. (Pit to distress with high doses?)
 

 

So even ACOG says that induction needs to be taken seriously as there are risks and consequences associated.  Definitely I am in agreement with that. It IS a very big deal and the risks to not having your baby immediately must outweigh the benefits of baby staying put a little longer.


Pitocin – Be aware!

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

In recent days there has been much chatter in the birth and consumer worlds about the use or rather misuse of the synthetic oxytocin drug Pitocin (ICAN, unnecesarean, nursingbirth, daytondailynews).

Pitocin is used very commonly in the United States before labor to induce, during labor to augment the process and post birth for the purpose of eliminating or preventing  hemorrhage. Women are told that it is just like the oxytocin she produces, it is a way to mimic natural labor, it is no big deal, etc.  Clearly that is not the case.  Unfortunately women are rarely if at all informed of the manufacturer’s protocol’s for use or the documented risks and  consequences to her and her baby as seen here – pitocinKingPharmPamphlet.

For a drug this powerful to be used routinely for  non-medically indicated induction and unnecessary labor augmentation is frankly terrifying and unethical.  How many complications go unreported or under reported that are directly attributed to such liberal Pitocin use? The thought is staggering.  My heart aches and sobs as there are thousands of women and babies suffering needlessly every minute, every hour, every day and every year.  The advocate in me raises a fist and grabs a bullhorn. Please spread the truth.

The many women who come out of birth terrified and traumatized.  They say how painful, how out of control, how trapped in bed, how unable to cope without pain medication, how they fear for another labor, how they don’t ever want to go through that again and so on.  Next time you hear that ask her if she was induced or augmented with Pitocin.  I think you will be astounded by how many will say yes and how many will give an account of the cascade of interventions that came with it.

Women I believe overall say yes to induction and augmentation because they have no idea of the true risk involved, and of the deep held ideal that no care provider or staff would recommend or allow any procedure (yes it is a procedure) that could harm a woman and a baby unless the benefit greatly outweighed the risk.  I do not believe that a care provider or staff member is trying to do harm, but more the realistic function that there is another medication to fix it, a protocol to manage it or the go to cesarean option to handle the pit-to-distress syndrome.

Every pregnant woman must find out how her care provider uses Pitocin with his or her patients.  She needs to inquire with the birth facility as to normal protocols surrounding this medication.

Be aware.  Be informed.  A decision only can be made well when the playing field is leveled.

Childbirth Education – Think outside the big box location

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

So let’s chat about childbirth education. Of the reported 30% of expecting parents who attend childbirth classes the majority go to the hospital where the birth is planned instead of seeking out independent options. I want to challenge you to think about how strange that is. Does it make sense that the information presented will REALLY be balanced, unbiased and evidence-based? Many protocols and practices used during labor and delivery in the hospital are designed as a one size fits all, no suited to each individual mom and baby. More importantly, they are not designed to suit the usual low-risk mom and baby (the majority of moms and babies are normal and low-risk), but can actually make a mom and baby appear or become high-risk. Some refer to hospital classes as “good patient preparation” classes because of lack of inclusive information. I will admit, that all hospitals do not offer education in this manner, however, in my experience and research many sadly do.

If a car salesman tried to sell you a car and actually insisted you purchase the specific color, make and model he/she decides for you, would you buy it? You would hopefully say no thank you and leave. How dare some one make such a huge decision for you. How long do you research a piece of electronics or a computer, even a cell phone plane before deciding? Even the pair of shoes you are wearing. Did you have to try on several before finding the right pair?

So why not think outside the big box, one size fits all class? Every mom, baby and partner deserve to know the wisdom of birth, understand what is normal and how to stay that way, when the abnormal happens what to do and be a skilled consumer.

There is no re-do here. This time is too important to leave to chance and inadequate education.

This is at the essence of why I teach my own childbirth classes at a location outside the hospital. I am able to freely give full spectrum information without restriction, bias or without the fear of losing my position.

Your birth matters to both you and your baby, to your future fertility, to your confidence as a mother

Below is a list of options available to families all across the US and variations in other countries as well (if if any class types have been overlooked, please let me know and I will add it).

There are many other great ways to find a class that suits you.

Here’s to finding the perfect fit and gestating in peace.

Desirre

Individual fit: Who and where you choose during pregnancy and childbirth matter.

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Picture this: An expectant mother is preparing for the birth of her baby. She chooses the care provider her friend, co-worker or family member recommended, she is reading the most popular books on pregnancy and birth (she doesn’t know there are any others to choose from – everyone is reading these), she cannot help herself as she watches hour upon hour of those baby and birth shows on t.v., people tell her their birth stories and to just get the epidural (after watching those birth shows and hearing THOSE stories she is beginning to think it might just be a good idea). Right now, she is pretty sure she doesn’t want to be induced (she heard it hurts more, but knowing when the baby will come is appealing) or have a cesarean but other than that she is leaving it up to her care provider.

Now she starts her childbirth class. This class is based on normal birth and evidence-based practices. Hm those books she was given are SO different than what the instructor says during class. The instructor doesn’t even recommend those books but a host of other books and websites. She begins to wonder what her care provider really thinks and believes about birth. Also, what birth philosophy and practices her chosen birth location has.

I have written a list on choosing a care provider and birth location that is right for you. This is too important to make decisions without extra thoughtfulness and investigation. The key to this information is remembering you are the one purchasing a service. Essentially you are hiring a catcher with medical expertise and renting a room to birth your baby (if you are going to the hospital or birth center).

Choosing the place of birth for your baby – It is incredibly important that you understand where you fit best prior to choosing where to birth your baby. Take hospital and/or birth center tour, call and talk to L&D floor, get facts on home birth by talking to home birth midwives, other moms who have had home births, online and in books.

  • Does the location offer what is most important to you (tubs, birth balls, wearing own clothing, intermittent monitoring, etc.)?
  • What are standard protocols that are followed?
  • Does location routinely use methods that turn a low risk mom and baby into high risk patients?
  • Are waterbirths available?
  • Are birthing stools or non-reclined pushing and delivery positions encouraged?
  • What is the no/low intervention rate?
  • What is the epidural rate?
  • What is the cesarean rate? Does the hospital support VBAC’s?
  • Are mom and baby friendly practices used? (no routine interventions, no separation of mom and baby, breastfeeding is the norm, movement in labor is utilized, etc.)

Points to Ponder afterward

  • Will I be able to have the type of birth I truly desire?
  • What location will I ultimately feel most comfortable in?
  • What location is ultimately safest for my specific needs (I am currently low-risk or high risk)?
  • Is insurance or lack of it the reason I am choosing the location?
  • Do I have realistic expectations for the location?
  • Am I willing to take responsibility for my birth in the location?
  • Is staff open to working with a doula?
  • Is staff willing to work with natural childbirth practices?
  • Are there any compelling reasons to choose one location over another?

Choosing your care provider – Use this as a template for the interview process or to be certain you are of the same philosophy and belief system.

  • What is his/her birth philosophy?
  • What is philosophy of pregnancy?
  • Has provider seen normal labor and birth? How often?
  • What percentage of patients have medicalized births?
  • How is the “due date” approached? When is “overdue”?
  • Will you answer questions over the phone?
  • How much time will you spend with me during each appointment?
  • What if I hire a doula? Are there restrictions on the doula I may hire? If yes, why?
  • Do I need a childbirth class? Breastfeeding class?
    o Are there restrictions on the type of childbirth or breastfeeding class? If so, what and why?
  • What routine tests are utilized during pregnancy? What if I decline these tests?
  • What are routine intervention rates? (IV, AROM, continuous monitoring, etc.) Cesarean rate? VBAC rate?
  • Induction rate? What induction methods are used?
  • Is natural, normal labor and birth supported?
  • What positions is care provider comfortable catching in? Birth stool? Hand/Knees? Squatting? Standing?
  • If I choose an epidural, when can I get it or when is it too late?
  • How often is episiotomy used?
  • When would forceps/vacuum be used? Which method is CP comfortable with?
  • What about a birth plan? Will desires be put into my file at the hospital so the nurse and/or back-up will know what has been agreed to?
  • Are there any protocols that are non-negotiable?
  • What if I choose to decline something after careful consideration?
  • Is an on call rotation utilized or does CP attend all own patients? If there are partners or an on call rotation, do EACH of the others share in the same birth philosophy and approach to birth?

Points to ponder afterward-

  • Did you feel immediately comfortable at the interview?
  • Were or are questions specifically answered or is the answer “only when necessary” without additional information unless pressed?
  • Was or is care provider willing to answer questions in detail without being annoyed?
  • If already with a CP, do you feel comfortable and heard at each appointment?
  • Is choosing your care provider based on your insurance or lack of insurance?
  • What are you willing to do in order to have the birth you really desire? Birth location?
  • How much responsibility are you willing to take for the health care decisions for you and your baby?

Cesarean Avoidance – Tips For Every Woman

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Yes you DO want to avoid a cesarean whenever possible. Cesarean is MAJOR surgery. It is not just another way to give birth. Both women and babies are well designed to give birth often never needing intervention of any type.

Cesarean can be a life-saving technique and used well for some serious medical conditions, including but may not be limited to placenta previa, HELLP syndrome, uterine rupture, placental abruption, cord prolapse, some breech presentations, true fetal distress, vasa previa and high order multiples.

Approximately 50-67% or more of all cesarean surgeries performed in the U.S. are likely unnecessary or become “necessary” from iatrogenic influences (non-medical inductions, AROM, pitocin augmentation, epidural or spinal anesthesia, “fetal distress”, suspected big baby, lack of mobility, continuous fetal monitoring, pushing positions and/or technique).

Here are some tips to help you avoid a cesarean and have a positive vaginal birth.

  • Get educated: Book to start with – The Thinking Woman’s Guide To A Better Birth by Henci Goer, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, The Official Lamaze Guide. Giving Birth with Confidence by Lothian and DeVries. Seek out websites that use evidence-based information and normal birth practice information. TURN off the t.v. from the dramatic birthing shows unless you watch with a discerning eye to figure out what could be done differently and why. Seek out local resources such as La Leche League, Birth Network, Birth Circles and/or a local ICAN chapter to learn from other women. Take a childbirth class that is not a good patient preparation class. Take an independent evidence-based class that gives you tried and true techniques along with the communication skills to use your consumer voice. Study and learn about your rights as a pregnant woman, informed consent/refusal and all the usual interventions and medications (induction, augmentation, AROM, epidural, monitoring, etc.).
  • Interview Several Care Providers: You want to find out what the raw data is for inductions, interventions, epidurals, episiotomy, cesareans, VBAC’s and so on. It is important to get at the core philosophy of the care provider. Email me at desirre@birthingtouch.com to receive my handout on this.
  • Interview several and hire a Doula: You want a doula who will fit into your philosophy of birth and labor/delivery needs. One size does not fit all.
  • Use normal birth practices: Stay home as long as possible in labor (if having an away from home birth), choose a care provider who supports and believes in you, use a variety of natural coping techniques, opt out of routine induction, opt out of continuous monitoring unless high risk, opt out of routine augmentation, opt out of routine epidural or narcotic use, opt out of routine pushing position, limit vaginal exams, use mobility, TRUST yourself, LISTEN to your body and baby, accept responsibility for your decisions, BE confident that you are designed for this task.

I hope this has given you a jumping point to go out and birth!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Desirre

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/prelimbirths05_tables.pdf#1

http://www.ican-online.org/

http://www.lamaze.org/Default.aspx?tabid=171

http://www.birthingtouch.com/

http://www.childbirthconnection.org/

http://www.hencigoer.com/



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