Haha, no my wife did not have our baby. It is still way too early. Looking frightfully forward to that day though. I would like to talk for a minute about something that I think is concerning here in America and in other parts of the world. The woman’s body is designed to give birth to a child. There is a natural process (one taught very visually with balloons in hypnobirthing class) that the body goes through when giving birth that allows for safe and effective birth. There is a natural way for a reason. It provides benefits to the baby and to the mother that you just do not get with a cesarean section. Bonding and lung development are examples along with shorter recovery time. Yet in this country we are moving more and more to cesarean sections.
A new study shows that 32% of all births in America in 2007 were done by c-section. That is a 53% increase from 1996. I will speculate for the fun of discussion that money is the driving force in the rise in c-section rates. There is more money to be made by a doctor in doing a c-section than in doing a natural birth. This is not the only reason why the rates are raising though. I am sure that mothers want to have a painless birth and they think that is the answer.
Now I am not saying a c-section is a bad thing and that there cannot be trouble with a regular birth. There can be complications and there are times when a c-section is the only way. I will say that an expecting mother should prepare for a natural birth or vaginal birth and only use a c-section when it is necessary. They should not go into the delivery wanting a c-section unless it is directed by a doctor because there is a complication in the pregnancy, not because the doctor wants to make more money.
In my days I have known a few people who have been pregnant. Most of the pregnancies that I have known about have gone fine with a good delivery. This is not always the case. The longer my wife and I get into this pregnancy thing the more complications I realize there are. My brother was born two months early, for the longest time I thought that was the only thing that could go wrong in a pregnancy. I was wrong. There are complications that can happen almost right after conception all the way up until the baby is born and after. I would write all of them here but I do not have that type of time but click here to see and learn more about some complications.
A lady at my church just recently had to deal with one complication that is scary to me (pre-eclampsia). She ended up giving birth at 30 weeks to twins and they are now doing fine. Pre-eclampsia can be both fatal to the mother and the child. This complication is marked by excess protein in urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. High blood pressure is also a sign. There are several complications that can occur because of pre-eclampsia, including future increased risk for cardiovascular disease, for the mother. Lack of blood flow to the placenta can cut oxygen and nutrition to the baby.
Can you picture a nice juicy lemon coated salmon caught fresh from Alaska and served at just the right temperature? I sure can. Luckily, for pregnant women they can too. Now picture some golden brown beer battered fish and chips (OK maybe not beer battered). Now the pregnant women likely could not picture this, and not because of the beer. Cod is the type of fish that is used in most fish and chips. If it were halibut the fish and chips are fine to eat. Cod, however, is a fish that is high in mercury. Mercury is bad for anyone at high levels but especially bad for pregnant women and their growing baby. Eating any fish too much will lead to a mercury poison but some fish have higher amounts of mercury than others.
Mercury can cause harm to the unborn child that could result in its death. Damage to the baby’s nervous system and brain can result in hearing loss, and learning disabilities. Fish should still be eaten but only in small amounts. The diet of a pregnant woman is very important to the development of the child. They should take folic acid and get plenty of vitamin D and there are other foods the mother should avoid. Smoking and alcohol are definite no goes in pregnancy. Raw meat and eggs also should be avoided.
This past week my wife and I had another appointment with our midwife. We got to see another ultrasound, and apparently the kid was doing a little dancing on screen. I could not see it though, its impossible to make out anything on those things. I am happy because next time we get the 4-D ultrasound so we should be able to actually see the baby. While at the center I started thinking that there must be different types of midwives. I do not know why this did not click earlier but it did not. The center that we go to (Circle of Life Womens Center) has trained doctor’s on staff and then other certified midwives.
There are five different levels of midwives. They all have different levels of education making them more or less qualified. A certified nurse-midwife has at least a bachelors degree and is certified to be a nurse. Certified professional midwives meet practice standards set by the North American Registry of Midwives. A direct entry midwife studies in midwifery either on their own or through a school or apprenticeship. A certified midwife is the same as a certified professional midwife but they have a college degree. The last type is a lay midwife. They are informally trained and are not certified by any organization. I am glad that we visit a certified nurse-midwife but I think that people have OK experiences with any type of midwife. Although, I would discourage the use of a lay midwife just in case there were problems in the pregnancy. I like how our midwife works for or under a doctor. This way if something were to go wrong a doctor can be easily called.
Last year I had the chance to attend a hypnotist show. The hypnotist took the time before the show to explain how it is possible for someone to be hypnotized, even stating that we all have hypnotic states at different times. I did not believe that anyone could put someone into a hypnotic state and ask them what to do or what to experience. After seeing the show I had my doubts. Some of the volunteers from the audience did not get hypnotized when he tried. Others he thought were but clearly were not, although the hypnotist did not seem to notice. There were, however, several volunteers that were clearly hypnotized and upon over hearing one of their conversations afterwards, I believe they were hypnotized and it can be done. A few months later my wife started talking about a hypnobirthing class that she wanted to take for her pregnancy.
Having seen hypnotizing work I thought that it might be a good idea, but I still had my doubts about the class. So far we have only been to one class where we were only taught the history of birth as seen by the hypnobirthing people. It was interesting. I kind of doubt the accuracy of what was taught or I understood wrong. The class made it sound like birth was easy, painless, and succesful up until the Catholic church came up with the concept that it was unclean and connected to Eve’s sin (if you can call it that) in the Garden of Eden. Modern medicine has made it better but they have failed to go back to the natural way the body was designed to give birth. There might be truth in some of this, I am grateful for modern medicine and for alternative choices. One might want to study to see how true the statements that were made are and everyone should study in-depth all options when considering how to give birth.
I do think that the classes will teach my wife how to relax, that was a big thing discussed in class. We have gotten into our heads that birthing is scary and painful. If that is what we are expecting that is what we will get. I am not sure if you really get hypnotized, I guess it is at some level, but one is taught how to relax and a husband or a doula is there to help relax the wife. Women who go through these classes use epidural’s at a much lower rate than those who do not. It obviously helps a woman relax and have a less painful birth. I am not saying it is the answer to a painful birth, but I think everyone should do one of these classes before giving birth, if not to just learn how to relax. Stress kills, we all can learn how to control it better.
Sounds like a good name, right? Well, I will run that by the wife to see if it will fly. Nope, will not work. I am sure Braxton Hicks is already a person, actually it might be two people, not sure. More than a name it is now a condition. I always wonder if people are happy when conditions they find or have, that later get their name, are happy with the conditions’ new title. I think I will make it my goal to have a condition or maybe a maneuver like Heimlich named after me. I do not know if Braxton Hicks is really a condition or just an event that was found that happens in most pregnant women.
For those still in the dark, Braxton Hicks or Braxton Hicks contractions are just that, contractions. Believe me when you are first time parents who know very little about the pregnancy process, when your wife complains of a pain that she thinks is a contraction before she even reaches 20 weeks, you are concerned. I did some research on the internet to try to calm my worse fears, to little avail. At the point in pregnancy that my wife was at very few people complain about any type of contractions. She really was not even supposed to be able to feel Braxton Hicks contractions yet, even though some women had said it is possible. We finally decided we needed to call our midwife, she also was concerned and we would need to make the trek to see her early the next morning. Just one week before her next scheduled appointment. The midwife said the only way to tell what was going on was to see if she was dilating or not. It is good that she was not dilating because that would mean the possibility of an early birth and at the stage we were at would almost certainly mean loss of the baby. I have heard that the body has these contractions early on and throughout the pregnancy to get the body ready for the real deal at birth. My wife still has the contractions but it has been about 4 weeks since that visit to the midwife and for the most part things have gone great.
As mentioned in an earlier post, my wife and I are able to get an ultrasound at every visit we have with our mid-wife. This means that once a month we get to see a picture of our baby. Not only do we see it there, we get a print out of three to four pictures, and they record the whole ultrasound for us to watch again at home. This is nice because most people who I have talked to say that they only get one ultrasound to identify the sex of the baby. This is one reason that my wife really likes her midwife and wanted her to deliver our baby. She had been seeing her for years before and many of her family members have had her deliver their babies. Getting on ultrasound every time may not seem like a big deal but believe me it is a huge peace of mind when you can see the baby every month.
Ultrasounds in pregnancy are used to determine if things are developing OK with the baby. Besides determining the sex of the baby, certain birth defects can be found. They often do an ultrasound early in the pregnancy to determine the age of the pregnancy, and to identify if there is a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets). Around 18-20 weeks is when most people get an ultrasound where the sex of the baby can be made known and also to check the weight and length of the growing child. I will say that they are a great tool that allows professionals to assess the health of a growing baby. I’m not sure what they did before ultrasounds but I’m glad I live at a time when they are widely used. I do not know if it is totally worth the drive just because we get an ultrasound every time, but this dad is glad he gets to see his little boy at different stages. Plus having a doctor or midwife you, and more importantly the wife, likes is a must when having a child. 3D and 4D ultrasounds are often done once during pregnancy adding another dimension and movement to an ultrasound. We have not had that done yet, but I think those ultrasounds are cool and cannot wait to see one of my baby. My wife just passed 20 weeks but because we get an ultrasound every time we have known for quite some time we where having a boy, at first we did not even believe the midwife because we thought it was too early. Now at 20 weeks it is still a boy.