Helpful info for Daddies, Partners, and Doulas

Quotes are from The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin

For most women, the peak of pain in the dilation stage seems to be reached by 7 or 8 centimeters.  Electronic recordings made from within the uterus…show that after 7 or 8 centimeters contractions do not continue to increase in intensity, though they sometimes come closer together.   Contrary to most people’s assumptions, the contractions do not keep getting worse until dilations is complete or the baby comes out. (pg. 85)

This illustrates that if a woman waits as long as she can and then asks for drugs at 8-9 centimeters because she doesn’t want it to get worse, she need not worry.  It won’t get worse.  If you can handle it up to that point, you know what’s worse, you know what is to come, you can make it without drugs!

[Dads] Try not to take it personally if the mother criticizes you or tells you to stop doing something that you expected to be helpful.  Just say, “Sorry,” and stop doing it.  don’t try to explain why you did it or express frustration with her.  She is really saying that labor is so difficult right now that nothing helps.  You are the safest person for her to lash out at…(pg 88)

Men just don’t get it.  They can’t get it.  No matter what they have or will go through, they cannot relate to giving birth.  So, try everything you can think of to help, stop when she says something isn’t working and try something else.  It doesn’t matter if it’s massage she usually enjoys, or if it worked last time she was in labor.  It’s not personal, it’s not you, it’s just not working at this moment.

Seventy percent of cases of shoulder dystocia…happen in average-sized babies, and this problem cannot be predicted.  When this serious complications occurs, doctors and midwives use well-practiced techniques to resolve it. (pg. 228)

So, when the doctor plays the “Big Baby” card and fears that the baby could get stuck, just remember, ANY baby could get stuck.  It’s not reason to plan a c-section based on guesstimated size.  Especially since late-term ultrasounds are rarely correct and can be up to 2 pounds off in either direction.

The chances of a cesarean increase by two to four times in first-time mothers who have elective inductions, when compared to first-time mothers who have labors that begin spontaneously. (pg. 230)

So in other words, unless you want a c-section, just say “no” to non-medical induction.

[After the baby is born]…The warmest place for the bab (and the place where he will be happiest) is against his mother, skin to skin, with the two of them covered by a warm blanket.  Unfortunately, many hospitals customarily keep a baby in a warming unit while the nurse does all the newborn procedures.  Then the baby is usually wrapped and given a hat.  If the baby is presented to the mother all wrapped up, she should…place the baby naked against her skin with a warm blanket over both of them.  You should not uncover the baby or remove the hat.  If a newborn gets chilled…it may take a long time for him to regain his temperature. (pg 105-106)

Kangaroo care. Studies have shown that being held skin-to-skin against a parent’s chest and covered with a blanket keeps a baby warmer than does a heated baby bed.  The baby benefits not only from the parent’s warmth but also from his or her movements, soothing voice, touch, and even heartbeat sounds.  Both parent and baby are more content when they spend some hours each day in this “Kangaroo Care”.  Babies who have been “kangarooed” gain weight faster, suckle better, cry less, and are discharged from the hospital sooner.  Kangaroo Care has been done even with babies who are receiving oxygen or tube feedings or who are very premature or sick….(pg. 263

There is nothing the nurses or baby catcher needs to do to a healthy baby that can’t be done while the baby rests on mom’s chest and explores the breast for the first time.  Baby can be seen, watched, checked, and listened to all while mom hold him.

While a woman’s right to have a cesarean without medical justification is often unquestioned, her right to a vaginal birth is seriously jeopardized. (pg. 321)

The reasons for the sudden downturn in the VBAC rate are not clear.  No new evidence has revealed that VBACs are more dangerous than they were in the mid-1990s, when VBACs were promoted by insurance companies, government agencies, and many other organizations of medical professionals.  Researchers have found that uterine scars are more likely to separate with two recent practices: the use of a single-layer rather than a stronger double-layer closure after a cesarean delivery and the use of prostaglandins to induce a VBAC labor.  Provided that women have had double-layer suturing with their cesareans and that prostaglandins are avoided in their subsequent labores, VBACs are as safe as they were when they were very common…With modern surgical techniques and a supportive birth environment and caregiver, between 60 and 70 percent of women who attempt a VBAC will have one. (pg. 321-322)

It’s so sad that even though evidence shows that VBAC is a safe option when done correctly, many doctors continue to tell women that it’s safer to be sliced back open.  What’s sadder is that women believe them:(

The cord is often cut immediately, but a recent scientific analysis has found benefit to waiting for at least two minutes or until it stops pulsating – in five minutes or so.  Less likelihood of anemia for as much as six months exists in babies whose cords are cut later.  Until the cord is clamped or stops pulsating, the blood passes back and forth between the baby and the placenta.  It goes from placenta to baby whenever the uterus contracts, squeezing the blood from the placenta through the umbilical cord to the baby. (pg. 333)

There is no proven benefit to immediate clamping of the cord except in emergency cases when the baby needs care or the cord is wrapped around the neck and the baby can’t be delivered safely.


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