What Labor & Delivery Nurses Want You to Know
Written by: Jessica Heine, RN, Labor & Delivery Nurse at The Birth Place - 09.12.16
Checking into the hospital can be a little scary no matter if this is your first baby or fourth baby, if you've attended birthing classes or not and whether this is a planned induction or you come in laboring on your own. While every hospital has different policies and expectations, there are some general tips to make this special day even more special. Many hospitals offer tours of their labor and delivery unit and can answer specific questions that you may have before labor begins.
Maintain an open mind and ask questions- As a labor nurse a job we take very seriously is advocating what it is that our patients want. Tricia Miller, RN, states "We put all of our heart and soul into you and your labor process. We feel connected to you."
Your nurse wants you to have the delivery experience that you have always wanted. However, childbirth is an unpredictable thing and things can change course at any time. Please ask questions if there is something that we have not explained well enough. Meagan Bliss, RN, states "I truly believe everything in labor happens for a reason, please keep open minded and go with the flow. We only want to help you have a safe delivery and happy, healthy baby."
Some hospitals have strict visitation rules and only allow 2-3 visitors during delivery while others do not place limitations. Nancy Morgan, RN, tells all her patients "think carefully about who you want to share in your birth experience. It's not necessary to include your second cousin's children. Sometimes too many well wishers can detract from the remarkable experience of the birth of your child. Remember no one will treasure this day more than you and your partner."
I think all pregnant woman will say meal time is a very important part of the day, but during labor no food is allowed. Many doctors will allow ice chips and nothing else. If you have not been told to not eat prior to coming to the hospital, eat before you leave the house. Make sure that something is easy on the stomach as many woman do experience nausea and vomiting during the labor process. Labor can take many hours and while you, the patient, can't eat anything your support person can and should eat. However, Morgan says "Don't be afraid to tell your husband, no he cannot eat those hot wings in the birthing suite while you are in labor."
Some doctors require their patients to be dilated a certain number of centimeters prior to getting an epidural and others will allow it as soon as a regular contraction pattern has developed. Only one visitor will be allowed to stay in the room and the procedure lasts approximately 20 minutes. Pain relief will begin almost immediately, usually full effect within 20 minutes. Some patients will have no feeling in their legs or abdomen while others may feel the contractions and their legs, but have no pain. Both of these results are normal.
Bring your camera and keep it close by at all times. After delivery there are many opportunities to get "the shot" of your newborn and you will not want to miss it. Those Cesarean Section- There are many reasons why a "normal" laboring mom could be taken to the operating room for a cesarean section. Some babies do not tolerate labor for one reason or another and for their safety a c-section is best. Other moms do not completely dilate or if they do completely dilate may not be able to deliver a term infant due to size or position. If any of these complications arise maintain an open discussion with your nurse/healthcare provider. Only one person will be allowed in the OR and this person will be brought back at the time of the abdominal incision. If for any reason general anesthesia is necessary, the visitor will only be present after the surgical delivery of the infant.
You have just given birth to a beautiful baby, and now it is time to show your bundle of joy off to the world. While that sounds perfect, the first two hours after delivery are messy and overwhelming (as well as perfect). Bradenburg says "despite your nurses best effort you are going to be exposed. Every 15 minutes for the first two hours your nurse is going to pull back your covers and rub on your uterus to make sure your vaginal bleeding is under control. During this time we also want breast feed babies to have their first feeding and spend that time doing skin-to-skin. If you have lots of visitors during this time know that we will be asking them to step out of the room often to ensure your privacy."
Originally published in KC Baby & Maternity magazine; reprinted with permission.
Cravings, Epidurals and Swaddling. OH MY! - Childbirth and Parenting Classes
Written by: Lisa Cavin-Wainscott, Clinical Nurse Specialist, The Birth Place - 10.07.16
Learning that you're going to be a parent is exciting, shocking, scary, you name it! And with the news of your pregnancy comes a flood of information from your family and friends. Not to mention all of the questions you have about your developing baby and changing body. It can be completely overwhelming, especially for a first-time parent. In this day and age, everyone just hops online to get the answers they need, not really knowing if the source is credible and up to date.
Let us make life a little easier for you. At OMC, we offer a multitude of childbirth and parenting classes that can answer all of your questions and concerns. We can help prepare you, future siblings and grandparents for your new addition. Certified instructors present all of our classes in a variety of formats, close to home.
Below, I've answered some common questions we hear from expecting parents.
I'm getting an epidural, so I don't need to attend a childbirth preparation class, right?
Wrong. Pain relief and comfort measures are just one part of preparing for childbirth. Our classes also address common discomforts of pregnancy and what to do about them, how to tell the difference between true and false labor, when to call your doctor, when to come to the hospital, stages of labor, common procedures during labor, medical terminology, emergencies, reasons for a cesarean birth, how partners can help, birth plans and so much more.
How often should I change position during labor?
About every 30 minutes during active labor or whenever you become uncomfortable. Repositioning can help reduce the pain of contractions, get baby into a good position and may make your contractions more efficient.
Is it ok to eat fish while I'm pregnant?
There are recommendations to limit the amount of fish you eat while pregnant. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have guidelines that encourage pregnant women to only consume 2-3 servings of fish containing low levels of mercury weekly. See the press release at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm397929.htm
I'm tired of being pregnant and all of the aches and pains that go with it. It won't hurt to deliver a little early, right?
Although all of the organs and systems in the baby are developed during the first trimester, they don't finish maturing until 39-40 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born before this time commonly have difficulty coordinating their suck, swallow and breathing. They may also have breathing problems or trouble maintaining their own body temperature. Sometimes, there are medical conditions that may require delivery to occur before 40 weeks. Your delivering doctor will discuss the risks and benefits with you. In most cases, you are your baby's best incubator.
I've babysat before, but never really been around a newborn. What's different?
Our Infant Care class explains the standard procedures and screening tests your baby will have during the hospital stay. We address the basics of baby care, such as holding, passing baby to another person, bathing, taking a temperature and using a bulb syringe. You'll also learn the latest safety recommendations for safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), proper car seat use and when to call your baby's doctor. The class packet includes multiple resources to use at home.
My doctor just put me on bed rest. How do I get ready for childbirth now?
Our online Childbirth Preparation class is perfect for you. You can start whenever you like, and you have access to course materials for 60 days. There are lots of pictures and videos in the program, fun activities and handouts that can be printed for later reference. Postpartum and infant care sections are included, in addition to a feature that enables you to have your personal questions answered by an expert.
My parents don't know about safe sleep and other recent recommendations. How can I get them to understand things are done differently now?
Our Grandparenting Today class addresses current labor and delivery practices, infant care and safety (safe sleep and car seat) guidelines. The grandparent's role and long-distance relationships are also discussed.
I just found out I'm pregnant. What do I need to know now? What should I be doing?
Congratulations! With this exciting news, come a million questions and concerns. And while having access to just about anything online is great, it can also cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety during pregnancy.
To make life a little easier, our specialists created a pregnancy planner that outlines what you need to know and what you should do each trimester. Download our OMC Pregnancy Planner to give you an idea of when you should be considering taking different classes, activities and decisions throughout your pregnancy. It is ideal to attend the Healthy Pregnancy class during your first trimester to learn about the changes your body is going through, including moving safely as your center of gravity and joints change throughout your pregnancy. We'll also discuss coping with common pregnancy discomforts, nutrition and dietary and environmental exposures to avoid or limit.
I'm planning to breastfeed, and since it's natural, do I really need to attend a class?
Although breastfeeding is natural, it's also a learned behavior for mom and baby. Our breastfeeding class explains the basics, what is normal and provides you with realistic expectations for the first several weeks. Common beliefs about breastfeeding are also explored so you know the facts. Breastfeeding can be overwhelming for a new mom, so learning the positions, techniques and helpful tips before you deliver builds confidence, creating less stress.
For more information about our childbirth and parenting classes, and to register, check out our site here: http://bit.ly/2crXxeG
Top Misconceptions About Conception
Written by: Lauren McCord, WHNP-BC, MSN, Nurse Practitioner at Midwest Reproductive Center & Labor Nurse in The Birth Place at OMC - 11.18.16
We've all heard at least one old wives' tale about how to get pregnant. Elevate your hips for twenty minutes after intercourse, maintain a certain position during intercourse, use a lubricant to help the sperm swim faster. The list of myths goes on and on! The truth is, these just simply aren't the truth. It all comes down to good ol' science, and none of these misconceptions have been proven true.
As a women's health nurse practitioner at a reproductive center, I've heard countless falsities about trying to get pregnant. I put together a list of the top conception myths I'd like to bust, plus several facts that I've found to be most helpful to couples during the conception process.
The Facts! What We Do Know:
- Infertility does not only affect women. In fact, men can be affected in up to 30% of infertility cases.
- Intercourse prior to ovulation is the key to conceiving, since an egg only survives 12 to 24 hours after it is released and sperm can live about five days in a woman's body. Many of the things we do to keep healthy can also improve the health of sperm. Men can try some of these tips:
- Don't smoke or use illegal drugs, especially anabolic steroids.
- Avoid contact with toxins, such as pesticides and heavy metals.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Eat a healthy diet and keep your weight under control.
- Keep your scrotum cool, because heat slows down the creation of sperm. To do this, avoid hot baths, wear boxers instead of briefs and try not to wear tight pants.
- Pregnancy losses are fairly common, occurring in 15-25% of pregnancies. Of those losses, about 80% happen in the first three months of pregnancy.
- If you have experienced two or more pregnancy losses, see your doctor or specialist for further evaluation.
- Although pregnancy losses are fairly common, at least 85% of women who have miscarriages go on to have subsequent normal pregnancies and births.
The Top Conception Myths:
Myth: Just relax and it will happen, don't stress over it.
While stress can certainly alter a woman's cycle, it often takes significant life events (such as a serious illness, death of a loved one, moving, etc.) to cause the reproductive system to shut down, making conception more difficult. Being unable to successfully conceive when desired can be stressful all by itself, but it is usually not enough to reduce fertility.
Myth: Eating specific types of food, or planning intercourse at a particular time, will promote a certain gender of your baby.
Many people claim that there are methods of conceiving that will allow you to determine the gender of your baby. However, no valid research studies have been able to demonstrate this claim is true. Studies that have tried to prove this claim have success rates between 49-51%, the same chances as not trying to influence gender outcome.
Myth: Prenatal vitamins are not important until you become pregnant.
The folic acid in prenatal vitamins is recommended three months prior to conceiving to allow an accumulation in your body. Folic acid can help prevent spina bifida and other birth defects.
Myth: It is easy to conceive.
On average, with each menstrual cycle, there is only an 18-20% chance of conceiving. There are multiple factors (such as health of the egg and sperm, receptivity of the uterus, hormone levels and more) that have to work together for conception to occur. Researchers have defined the "fertile window" as days 10-17 of a woman's menstrual cycle. This fertile window is comprised of the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself.
Myth: After your first pregnancy, you'll have no trouble conceiving again.
Secondary infertility can happen and it is often correlated with advancing age. Pregnancy becomes more difficult after the age of 30 and even more difficult after the age of 35 because of the quality of the eggs. A female has all of her eggs for her lifetime at birth. Sperm quality also declines with advancing age.
Find more preconception and pregnancy resources here: http://bit.ly/2ghgioX