Dear Daughter: what I would like you to know about being an OB patient planning a hospital birth…
By: Anne Sommers
Prenatal Care. Customarily blood work is done at your early prenatal appointments. Your hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying capacity of your red blood cells) will be measured and ought to be 11.5 or 12 and above. If lower than that, your OB will suggest iron supplements; they are usually in the form of ferrous sulfate, a poor grade of iron which can have harmful effects on the body. Increasing iron absorption naturally can be a better alternative and that is done through exercise, eating more citrus and not taking any iron supplements or meat with milk.
Routinely at 28 weeks a CBC is performed and pregnant women will commonly have a 2-point decrease in their hemoglobin, due to hemodilution. It doesn’t mean you are anemic. Again, beware of the recommendation of artificial iron supplementation that is usually recommended by your OB.
Day of Labor. The doctor you choose only has a small chance to be on call when you arrive at the hospital in labor. Then if you are less than 5 cm dilated (unless your water has broken) the nurses in triage may send you home.
Once you are admitted to the hospital, a fetal monitor will be applied either externally or internally (via a probe that screws into the babies scalp). Nurses will monitor you and the baby and the OB on call will catch your baby.
Only level I hospitals are equipped to do an emergency cesarean at any time. If your maternity hospital is a level II or III there may not be a 24-hour physician and/or anesthesiologist on the floor at the time of emergency and they will be called in.
Your partner may not be allowed to be with you in the birth room. If you test positive for covid, in Riverside, San Diego counties, he will not be allowed in the hospital, will not be tested, having to wait at home or in the car. The assumption is, if you are positive, he is positive. However, if you test positive, its likely that your doula/advocate who may not be tested, can come in with you.
You may be required to wear a mask; very difficult to do in labor. You need as much oxygen as you can get. You can refuse to wear it.
Once in the hospital bed it is very unlikely that you will be “allowed” to eat, drink, or walk around. This is unfortunate because, “an object in motion stays in motion,” and because upright, forward and over is a better way to deliver a baby than on your back.
Know how likely you will be induced. That can be correlated to the c sec rate in the hospital in which you deliver. It is important for you to know: What is the cesarean rate at the hospital or with the OB you choose? In the US it is about 23-30%. (In the UK 11%)
Some OBs start preparing a new mother for a c section with suggestions that may include: your age, the baby is getting too big, your pelvis is small, you can’t go past 40 weeks.
How quickly you dilate. Does your OB or hospital adhere to the Friedman curve (not as common as it used to be) where you must dilate 1 cm an hour? Or will she/he put time limits on labor?
Skin to Skin. When baby is born. Hopefully baby will be placed on your chest immediately after delivery and not whisked off to the nursery or warmer. It is important for Baby to have skin to skin contact with its mother (see The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedoff); to have its mother and father’s breathe close to it to help colonize its intestines with friendly bacteria. Baby’s microbiome is an indicator of a healthy immune system. Be aware that the hatting and swaddling interferes with bonding.
Hepatitis B vaccine. Consider if this vaccine is necessary. Hepatitis B is transmitted via body fluids: https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-hepatitis-b-spreads-1759959. Unless you are infected, your baby is very unlikely to get Hepatitis B.
Lip and Tongue Ties in babies have been common for the last 10 years; yet pediatricians, nurses, OBs do not check for them. Request a Lactation Consultant who can usually diagnose a tie, but not always. Babies do not nurse well or efficiently with a lip and/or tongue tie. A pediatric dentist can correct the anomaly.
Placental Encapsulation. Most all mammals consume their placentas. Culturally in the modern century women have not. However, historical records do give reference to placenta consumption. Eating your dehydrated encapsulated placenta has many benefits. At the 3rd day post-partum, a mother’s hormones are depleted and the placenta’s hormones can take over through ingestion, helping to enhance the thyroid and helping to prevent post-partum anxiety.
From a couple of my Face Book friends when I posted the question: what would you tell your daughter who is planning a hospital birth?
Amanda: I would talk ALL things postpartum! The emotions, the fatigue, the joy, the confusion, the breastfeeding highs and lows. Normalize postpartum chats. With birth, it would mostly be to trust your body and hear the staff but don’t always listen. They are doing their job and their job isn’t to know your body the way you do. Listen to baby and breathe for baby.
Karen Marie: Healthy mom and baby? Get to the hospital as late as possible, leave as soon as possible. Don’t argue or debate, just say no when you don’t want something.
Resources and Information:
Doula, Alisha Meyer: https://missali725.wixsite.com/mysite/about-5
Click on: “from a doula” to learn more about:
*Delayed cord clamping - “at least delay for 10 minutes. you know baby has the last 1/3 of their blood supply when their cord turns white and lengthens. this allows baby to get all their necessary stem cells and nutrients to set them up for success”
*Vit K - “The injectable vit K results in vitamin k levels 9,000 times thicker than adults’ blood.”
*Hep B vaccine – “Hepatitis B virus (is) spread by some body fluids. Ways to contract this virus: intravenous drug use, sexual intercourse or dialysis … (this is not) the lifestyle of your newborn”
*Circumcision – “with the voices of aggrieved men becoming louder, and parents questioning the bogus medical claims that there’s something inherently unhealthy about the natural penis, circumcision rates continue to fall.”
* Swaddling – “Swaddling restricts baby’s movement and prevents the Moro reflex (or startle reflex) from being expressed. This is one of the primitive reflexes that NEEDS to be expressed for baby’s brain to make connections with their body and to PROCESS the sensory information they are getting from the world around them”
Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Toddler Wearing: The African Approach to Avoiding Tantrums
Finally: Because it is being endorsed or sold on the internet, that doesn’t make a product or procedure true, helpful or authentically useful. For example: the current (marketing) advice going around is babies need supplemental vitamin D. Yet breastfeeding provides the nutrients that a baby needs; and vitamin D in order to be absorbed needs to be taken with magnesium, which is not present in these vitamin drops. Other promotions say that babies should be swaddled (a very unhealthy option). Whatever it is, look at the research, books, documentation that support or deny whatever trend or product someone is trying to sell.