Tuesday, June 22, 2010

on the needles

I just finished the cutest knitting project ever! As a gift for David for Father's Day, I knit up this little elephant. The pattern, Flower Power Elephant, is from Ala Ela on Ravelry. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. This little guy was a very fast knit. He is nearly a foot long and occasionally tips forward since his trunk is so top-heavy. If you decide to knit one of these guys, I recommend placing a couple of rocks or weights in the rump to weigh it down a little.

I used the lovely Malabrigo Merino Worsted that I got last month in the Mal swap. I still have quite a bit of yarn left, and I thought I would knit up Maddox the Mischievous Monster from DangerCrafts with some of the leftovers.

And with the arrival of yet more babies, I knit a few more bibs to hand out as gifts. I really like the first one, which I adapted from the versatile Baby Bib'O Love pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I did not get a good photo of the second bib, though, as I gifted it and forgot to snap a picture. But I used the pattern for the Petal Bib from One Skein in a rich brown cotton.

I also knit this hair bow for my eight-year-old daughter from Stefanie Fail's Moss Stitch Bow Headband. I shrunk down the size by CO 9 sts and worked until about 5 inches long. For the center piece, I CO 3 sts and did a few rows.

And, currently in progress, I am knitting another bib as well as a little shrug from the Malabrigo that David gave me for my birthday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

born in the caul

I just came across a very impowering homebirth story in pictures. The pictures are of the birth of a baby born in the caul, meaning he is born with the amniotic sac or membrane still intact around his body. The sac then balloons out around the baby at birth, covering his face and body as he emerges from the mother. When still inside the sac, a baby continues to be nourished through the umbilical cord and is not in danger of drowning and has nearly zero chance of neonatal infection. A baby born in the caul is very rare, especially in today's obstetrics, and children who are born in this way are considered, based on legend, lucky for life.

View Born in the Caul on homebirth midwife Beth Miller's website, Birthing Way to see this amazing birth.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

crowns for the forest spirits

We were out in the garden, trimming the trees, and we had so many nice leaves laying around the yard. After collecting a big pile of them, I decided to make the neighborhood girls some crowns made of the leaves!

The crowns will not last long, but they only took a few minutes to slap together. Here is what I did: I took a piece of construction paper (newspaper or scrap paper works fine) and cut it into one to two inch strips. I stapled two pieces together longways to make a ring, fitting it to each child's head. Then I took the leaves and stapled them one by one onto the paper ring, mostly pointing down, but in slightly different directions. These crowns could easily be made with flowers, fall leaves in bright colors, or even feathers!

Friday, June 11, 2010

may swap

I sent a swap package out to the Lady of the Month of May a few weeks ago, and she finally got it, so it is now safe for me to post pictures!

I used the Chinese Waves pattern for one of the cloths. This pattern has turned out to be a very simple and reliable knit over and over again. I highly recommend it if you are in search of a good scrubbing cloth--even though the pattern takes a little bit of practice and some patience to get the knack of.

For the green cloth, I used the double-bump cloth pattern. I also made another lovely little notions pouch. These pouches are very fun to make, and the options for creativity are endless. This particular pouch may just be my favorite yet. I love the colors and the flair. Hopefully the recipient likes it as much as I do!

Esme helped model the inside of the pouch so you could see how it is lined in the same green used on the leaves. Notice the paint on her hands? We had just finished painting her face.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

considering the cesarean section

The rates of cesarean births are increasing alarmingly each year, with over one in every three births ending in major abdominal surgery. When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a life saving technique for both mother and baby. With countless documented medical risks to the mother's health, including infections, hemorrhage, transfusion, injury to other organs, anesthesia complications, psychological complications, and a maternal mortality two to four times greater than that for a vaginal birth, it is hard to understand why cesarean births are becoming the new norm. Even the World Health Organization states that no region in the world is justified in having a cesarean rate greater than 10 to 15 percent. If we hope to do anything meaningful to decrease the rate of cesarean births, we need real culture change. However, change can only begin with understanding the barriers. This post highlights the common reasons cesarean sections are performed.

Placenta Previa This occurs when the placenta lies low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the cervix. One in every 200 pregnant women will experience placenta previa during their third trimester. The treatment involves bed rest and frequent monitoring. If a complete or partial placenta previa has been diagnosed, a cesarean is usually necessary. If a marginal placenta previa has been diagnosed, a vaginal delivery may be an option.

Since placenta previa involves pre-term bleeding, it can be a very traumatic experience for pregnant women, especially as some women believe they are miscarrying. The diagnosis can help medical practitioners rectify the problem, but the baby is usually delivered by cesarean. In this case, is definitely safer to have it by cesarean than to try to push a baby over a placenta, especially when it can detach during the birthing process. There is truly a difference between placenta previa and a low lying placenta, though in the case of true placenta previa, cesarean births are definitely worth the risk.

Placental Abruption This complication occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining before the baby is born. Approximately 1% of all pregnant women will experience placental abruption during the third trimester. The mother will experience bleeding from the site of the separation and pain in the uterus. This separation can interfere with oxygen getting to the baby and, depending on the severity, an emergency cesarean may be performed. There are two types of placental abruption, partial placental abruption and complete placental abruption. In the case of a partial separation, a cesarean is not necessary if the bleeding stops and the baby is not in distress. A complete separation, however, is a true medical emergency requiring immediate cesarean.

Uterine rupture In approximately 1 in every 1,500 births, the uterus tears, or ruptures, during pregnancy or labor, leading to hemorrhaging in the mother and interfering with the baby's oxygen supply. Uterine rupture is a reason for immediate cesarean as it can lead to a hysterectomy and death if it is not repaired right away. While uterine rupture can occur during any form of birth, the risk is higher for women who have had a previous cesarean birth, which in itself increases the rate of repeat cesarean birth.

Breech Position When dealing with a breech baby, a cesarean delivery is often considered by obstetricians to be the only option, especially due to the increased chances of cord prolapse and fetal distress. Even if the baby is in a breech position before the pregnancy is full-term, a cesarean may be preformed pre-term, resulting in premature delivery. Since medical schools no longer teach obstetricians how to deliver breech babies, cesareans are considered the 'safer' option for the baby. However, breech babies are commonly and safely born vaginally every year. In Canada, for instance, cesarean birth is no longer routinely performed for breech babies. Birthing position (such as squatting or hands and knees) is the key factor in order for a woman to successfully birth a breech baby vaginally. Breech birth is only a variation of normal childbirth, not necessarily something that is completely abnormal and to be feared.

Cord prolapse This situation does not occur often, but when it does, an emergency cesarean is performed. A cord prolapse is when the umbilical cord slips through the cervix and protrudes from the vagina before the baby is born (occurring, for instance, when the water breaks and there is too much space between the baby’s head and the cervix). As the uterus contracts, pressure is placed on the umbilical cord which diminishes the blood flow to the baby. Increased risk for cord prolapse occurs when the water is artificially broken. In the case of a cord prolapse, the baby must be delivered immediately, often by cesarean, so his oxygen levels do not decrease; if oxygen is cut off for too long, death or mental retardation may result.

Fetal distress The most common cause of fetal distress is lack of oxygen to the baby. If fetal monitoring detects a problem with the amount of oxygen that the baby is receiving, then an emergency cesarean may be performed. When this is correctly diagnosed, a cesarean is the best option. Unfortunately, fetal distress is often misdiagnosed in order to move labor along and get a woman to deliver faster. However, numerous tests are available to make sure the baby is not actually in fetal distress. It is common for a baby's heart rat to slow during contractions; a change of position may show that the baby is not in distress at all. If there is true fetal distress, however, changing positions will not help, and if a woman is not far enough along in her labor to speed a vaginal delivery, a cesarean may be imperative. 

Failure to progress Once a woman is in labor, a failure to progress can occur when the cervix has not dilated completely, labor has slowed down or stopped, or the baby is not in an optimal delivery position. Since the first phase of labor (0-4 centimeters dilation) is almost always slow, failure to progress is diagnosed correctly only when the women is in the second phase (beyond 5 centimeters dilation). Once a woman reaches active labor (more than 4 centimeters dilation), it is commonly thought that dilation should proceed by once centimeter every hour. However, as labor is drastically different for many women, some women will open faster, some much slower.

Unless there is an actual medical emergency that requires the baby to be delivered immediately, failure to progress is not a good reason for a default cesarean, even though many medical professionals believe that some women's bodies just cannot handle labor and cannot give birth. In its natural course, labor naturally speeds up and slows down and plateaus and then speeds up again. Sometimes a laboring body needs time to rest and gain strength for the next leg of the race. If labor 'stalls,' a woman can change positions, walk around, and be active in order to get things moving again.

Repeat cesarean A cesarean section is major abdominal surgery. While the first cesarean is not necessarily considered a big deal, subsequent cesareans are particularly dangerous. Any number of complications can arise, including placenta previa, placenta accreta (abnormally deep attachment of the placenta into the middle layer of the uterine wall), uterine rupture, injury to internal organs during surgery, excessive blood loss, need for hysterectomy, and maternal death. These risks rise with each subsequent repeat cesarean delivery. However, nearly 90% of woman who have already had a cesarean birth are candidates for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) for their next birth. The biggest risk factor involved in a VBAC is uterine rupture, which is common in 0.2-1.5% VBACs. There is certain criteria a mother must meet in order to be eligible for a VBAC; women should consult their care providers in order to understand their options. The U.S. has such a low VBAC and high cesarean rate because obstetricians deliver most of our babies, and obstetricians are not primary care clinicians. In his article VBAC rates are low, but are obstetricians to blame?, Kenneth Lin, MD, explains that labor managed by family physicians and professional midwives is considerably more likely to result in a vaginal birth than labor managed by an obstetrician, especially when considering VBACs. As with labor in general, there are risks in VBAC, but the risks are far greater with a repeat cesarean.

Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD) A true diagnosis of CPD occurs when a baby’s head is too large or a mother pelvis is too small to allow the baby to pass through. Like failure to progress, most cases of CPD are misdiagnosed (based upon the belief that the baby is too big for the mother to sufficiently dilate in a timely, scheduled manner), especially as pelvic measurements are based upon estimations. If a woman has rickets or something else has altered her pelvic bones, CPD can be legitimately diagnosed. But for the most part, a woman's body naturally will not make a baby bigger than she can push out, especially not the 30% of women in the US who give birth via cesarean. Remaining active and maintaining mobility helps a baby to position itself for vaginal delivery and helps a mothers cervix to dilate.

Active genital herpes: If the mother has an active outbreak of genital herpes at the end of her pregnancy (diagnosed by a positive culture or actual lesions), a cesarean may be scheduled. A cesarean is necessary in this case in order to prevent the baby from being exposed to the virus while passing through the birth canal. However, if the mother does not have an active outbreak, she is perfectly able to have a vaginal delivery safely without exposing the baby to the disease. 

Diabetes If a mother develops gestational diabetes during her pregnancy or is otherwise diabetic, her likelihood for having a baby larger than normal increases, as does the likelihood for other complications to arise. If the case of diabetes is uncontrolled or undiagnosed, the baby may grow too large for the mother to push out. However, diet goes a long way in controlling diabetes and baby growth; by discussing options with her care provider, a mother can control the diabetes to prevent excessive growth in the baby and successfully have a vaginal birth. 

Preeclampsia Preeclampsia is a condition of high blood pressure during pregnancy, which prevents the placenta from getting the proper amount of blood and decreases oxygen flow to the baby. This condition is very severe, and, once diagnosed, a mother is closely monitored. Delivery is sometimes recommended as treatment for this condition, and most women are able to deliver vaginally, but there are rare, extremely severe cases of preeclampsia where an emergency cesarean is necessary in order to save the mother and baby. 

Birth defects If a baby has been diagnosed with a birth defect, a cesarean may be performed in order to reduce the risk of any further complications during delivery. In some instances, a vaginal delivery will only complicate a particular birth defect, especially when the baby rotates and shifts during the birth process. Since this shift does not occur during cesarean birth, a cesarean is the lesser of two evils. 

Multiple births As multiple births are labeled as 'high risk,' these babies are usually delivered via cesarean. However, vaginal delivery is a safe option for many multiple births given that the babies are in a favorable position (any position other than transverse). If she is pregnant with multiple babies and hopes to deliver vaginally, she should find a supportive care provider who is confident in the female body's ability to naturally birth multiples, who believes twins do not require additional interventions, and who is knowledgeable about positions that are favorable for delivering multiples.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

how to be comfortable around breastfeeding

Before I had a child, I was very supportive of breastfeeding, even though my experience with it had been minimal. Many of the women in my family had breastfed their children and have, for the most part, fond awareness of it. Breastfeeding was never a big deal. I do, however, remember wondering a few things when I was near a breastfeeding mother: where do I look? Do I try to act casual and pretend I don't notice at all? Do I make a comment about her nursing (a positive one? but it would draw attention to the fact)?

When I was pregnant, I discovered lactivism by reading stories of women breastfed and received rude comments or who were asked to leave certain establishments. Like many new mothers, I was terrified to nurse in public for fear of being ridiculed. I expected that I would be told to cover up, leave, or be stuck at home until my baby weaned. When my baby was born, and for a long time after, I was the first and only one in my group of friends who breastfed. And even though I had a nursling of my own, I was still uneasy around other breastfeeding moms. It was easier for me to breastfeed around others than to be around another woman who breastfed. Over time, though, things got much easier.

The most important step for me was being around more moms who breastfed. I started going to LLL meetings and baby play- and music-groups where there were plenty of other nurslings present. As I saw the confidence of these breastfeeding women, my own confidence grew. I began to question why I felt uneasy. I knew that breastfeeding was normal and not obscene or indecent. I knew it was the right way to feed a baby and that, as a breastfeeding woman, I was legally protected against discrimination. In my mind, though, I tried to approach my feelings of confusion. Was I struggling with my understanding of modesty? Was I sexualizing breasts? Was I uncomfortable with my own body and my breasts and their function? Was I imposing my own discomfort on the breastfeeding mother next to me?

After some subconscious contemplation, I realized that I was afraid that the breastfeeding mother would feel uneasy if I was looking at her during conversation. What happened when the baby popped off and I saw a teeny bit of nipple for a tenth of a millisecond? Would she be uncomfortable? Then it dawned on me. If this woman is comfortable breastfeeding in front of me, then she is comfortable with whatever I might happen to see. After all, if the mother was handing a piece of fruit to her child, I surely would not look away or feel uncomfortable. And, if I was the one breastfeeding, it would not bother me if someone saw my nipple when my baby was latching on. I figured, then, that it was safe to just keep talking and enjoy myself.

Being a breastfeeding mother was what contributed most to me beginning to feel at ease around other breastfeeding mothers. Experience is often the best teacher. I learned what it was like to be on the other end; it is what helped me to be comfortable with my body and my breasts, as well as being comfortable around other breastfeeding mothers. After nearly seven years of nursing two children, breastfeeding is nothing I haven't seen before. And, now, I am the experienced one, the one who can reassure the new breastfeeding mothers out there that, not only is it ok to nurse in front of others, it is also ok to look at other breastfeeding women and not feel ashamed or uncomfortable.

And now I leave you with this lovely comic, Distract-a-ta-tas, from my favorite lactivist, Heather Cushman-Dowdee, for further contemplation.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

growing in our garden

May brings huge peony blossoms.
Radishes make our first harvest this year.
And our backyard is literally a carpet of violets. In the early spring, it is a breathtaking sight.
We harvested our first blueberries today. Esme ate them all.
And meet one of our little albino thieves.

Another growing season is well on its way. Mother Nature has given us a beautiful spring, alternating both wet and sunny. We already have had our first harvests of blueberries and heirloom radishes. And just like last year and every year before, we started quite a few vegetables and herbs from seed, including a variety of heirloom tomatoes and peppers, sunflowers, pole beans and lima beans, dill, cabbage, pumpkins, squash, and gourds. We also have innumerable perennials and biennials--mint, catnip, chives, parsley, strawberries, onions, chamomile and rhubarb.  I cannot help but get a bit nostalgic about how our garden grows and changes year after year.

recieved: mother-child spring swap

Back in April, I decided to start a Mother-Child Craft Swap group. This group hosts swaps for mothers and children who love crafting and love receiving surprises in the mail. The purpose of this group is to give everyone a chance to participate in a swap, regardless of age or skill level. Each swap we will exchange handmade items based on a theme. Even though the group is hosted on Ravelry, crafts are not limited to knitting or crochet.

This particular swap is Spring themed, and packages should include:
Three handmade item (something knit, modeled, strung, painted, etc.--the options are endless!)
One kid-friendly recipe
A sample of the sender’s favorite snack
A handwritten note or postcard (or hand-drawn picture for younger children)
Something for Mom (a skein of yarn, something handmade, sweets, etc.)
On Wednesday, we got home from a beautiful day at the Sunwatch Indian Village and found a surprise waiting for us--Eva's package from her nine-year-old swap partner, Gigi! Let me say, Gigi hit it on the nose with her pink themed package of gifts for Eva! Here’s what Eva got…

First thing’s first, there was a fantastic recipe for Pizza Surprise--a sweet treat that we made for an afternoon snack on Thursday. It was very rich and delicious! Gigi also made an AWESOME card of Chihiro from Spirited Away--one of Eva’s absolute favorite movies, I might add--with a handwritten note inside. Gigi has absolutely beautiful handwriting! Now, on to the snacks--two Snickers bars and a box of Nerds! These were a real treat for Eva since we do not give in to candy all that often. The candy sure did not last long at all, though. Eva had a friend over on Wednesday night, and, between the two of them, when I went to recruit Eva to take pictures on Thursday morning, there was not any evidence of the candy left! So much for savoring it!

And then there are the crafts! Gigi picked the PERFECT projects for Eva! She LOVES sparkly pink things! Gigi custom designed three lovely matching items--a hat, a pair of flip-flops with beautiful glittery flowers, and a lovely tote bag.

Next, paired with a skein of soft PINK yarn was a pair of awesome girly hand-made knitting needles in size US 8. Eva has already switched her latest project from her boring plastic needles she had been using before to this awesome pair

There were a few more surprises lingering in the bottom of the package, too--a box of crayons with an attached crayon sharpener, an Alice coloring book, and a pocket-sized notebook with matching ballpoint pen. These items will surely come in very handy for the many lazy summer days ahead of us.

And the surprise for mom? Two lovely skeins of Cascade Superwash Paints! ‘Twas love at first sight! The colors are AMAZING! They remind me of the beach!

A big thank you goes out to Gigi and her mom, Nerissa, for such a wonderful swap package. We love everything and we hope Gigi enjoys the package Eva put together for her, too. Check out what we sent Gigi!

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

the value and purpose of labor support

Labor support can be priceless to a mother. As doulas, we often times do put a price tag on our services and time, but the benefits received outweigh the cost. Studies have shown that by hiring a doula a mother can reduce her need for pain medication, increase overall satisfaction with the birth experience, drastically reduce the risk of a cesarean and reduce the risk of assisted delivery by forceps or vacuum extraction. The studies have  also shown a reduction in postpartum depression for mothers who had a doula or continual labor support by a person trained in birth. Much of this is the result of an increase in confidence levels by both the mother and the father. Second time mothers often say that their birth with a doula was so much better than their first birth without one because they knew they had someone there whose sole purpose was to tend to her physical and emotional needs.

Part of labor support is empowering a mother to have confidence in her ability to birth. Having someone available for the entire length of labor provides security and confidence for the mother as practitioners are typically caring for multiple patients at a time or have other responsibilities, such as the clinical needs of the mother and the baby. Paperwork also must be completed and shift changes occur, bringing in new people to the birth environment. Having a constant throughout the entire labor process provides a sense of familiarity and safety for a laboring mother. Doulas also help the mother and father both communicate with the hospital staff or birth attendants, which is necessary in a time such as labor when the parents are usually distracted with the labor itself. While it is not the role of a doula to speak for the parents to the practitioner, she should advocate in order to help the mother or partner speak for themselves. Helping the mother and partner ask the questions appropriate to their situation and navigating the terminology used is also often helpful.

Supporting a mother emotionally during labor and birth helps the mother to believe that she can do it. Sometimes being told that she can do it is all that a mother needs to hear to keep going strong during a long labor. Understanding that laboring women are vulnerable and that the birth space should be protected is very important. Laboring women should have peace and quiet and no unnecessary interruption--and holding that space for a mother is a priority. When a doula and a partner help create a peaceful and safe environment for a laboring mother, practitioners will often follow suite and respect that space, allowing a sense of calm for the mother that helps her to maintain stamina through labor. Emotional support does not end at the birth, however. Helping a mother to process her birth experience is equally important. In unforeseen complications or unexpected situations or traumas, a mother needs the continued emotional support to facilitate healing. Being especially sensitive to these needs helps to reduce postpartum depression and negative feelings towards her birth.

Labor support also includes physical support for the laboring mother. Every woman has a different need in labor, whether it is continual touch, massage or counter pressure, while other women want very little physical touch. Women will often not know what their need will be until labor has progressed and it is important to be able to understand what the mothers needs are and at what time her needs are the greatest. Incorporating the partner into the physical aspect of labor support is often very affective as they usually already have a certain intimacy between them as a couple.

The needs of a laboring and birthing woman are very complex. Mothers deserve the continual support of a doula, someone trained in labor support. If all women had a doula present for their labor and delivery, most of them would be able to birth without medication and with little medical intervention. The cost of maternity care would decrease as a result, and there would be higher success rates in breastfeeding. Postpartum depression rates would also lower. Every woman deserves a memorable and meaningful birth experience. Every woman deserves a doula.

Artwork: Birthing in Pink by Aiyaart

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Friday, June 4, 2010

profit-driven pregnancies

Our healthcare system in the United States is profit driven. By pathologizing pregnancy, by inducing and augmenting childbirth--an otherwise NORMAL condition--medical practitioners have the opportunity to drive up their profit margin. It is also why medical institutions are so against homebirth. They are so outspoken against it on the guise of it being unsafe, even though statistics show homebirth is the safest option for healthy, normal pregnancies. However, if women give birth at home, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies have no chance for profit.

The article Pathologizing pregnancy: it’s just good business from KippReport hits this concept right on the head.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

the due date epidemic

Before obstetricians created the birthing industry, the natural average gestation of humans was 266 days from the date of conception, often continuing for another week or two or even more, especially for first-time mothers. Today, with medical intervention at an all-time high, is actually closer to 250 days. While no one knows exactly what naturally sets a pregnant woman into labor, research has shown that it is a complex interplay between the mother's body and her baby's body. As the due date approaches, though, many obstetricians recommend medical induction in order to bring on labor.

As stated above, the average length of gestation for a human female is approximately 38 weeks (266 days) from the date of conception. However, since most women do not know the day they conceived, health care providers measure the length of pregnancy from the date of the last menstrual period, which works out to 40 weeks (the two extra weeks come from the fact that the average woman ovulates around 14 days after the first day of her last period, and this is when she is assumed to have conceived).

Because pregnancy is so long, and completely unpredictable, the medical community has latched on to the concept of a due date. Of course, the estimated due date is just that: an estimate, give or take a few days or weeks. However, doctors seem to have forgotten that the estimated due date is not to be relied upon as the actual day of birth. Doctors are increasingly relying on the estimated due date as a date on which to start planning inductions, and even threatening cesareans, for going 'overdue.'

But what does this mean for the woman whose menstrual cycle is not the standard 28-day cycle? This means that her estimated due date will actually be off by as much as one to two weeks in either direction. And if she has a doctor who likes to consider induction or cesarean after the estimated due date, he may be wrong by as much as two weeks early. For this reason, there is absolutely no justification for considering induction of a healthy pregnant woman before 42 weeks of gestation. Unless the woman herself knows either the day she ovulated, or the day she conceived, her due date may be off by as much as two weeks in either direction. Two weeks is too much of a margin of error to consider taking a baby early.

For the vast majority of women, induction increases risks for them and for their babies. Induction literally leads to a cascade of interventions, meaning that once intervention begins, another intervention is followed by another, which is followed by yet another, in a repetitive cycle of intervention. Having labor induced will medicalize a mother's birth experience. Once labor is augmented, a woman will need an IV and continuous electronic fetal monitoring which will confine her to a bed for the duration of her labor. Contractions will probably be more painful, often making pain medication unavoidable. If an epidural is administered, it will help eliminate the magnified pain, but it also introduces a long list of potential problems of its own. And with nearly 50% of woman whose labors are medically induced end up having a cesarean birth, a whole new set of complications are added to the cascade, with major abdominal surgery, pain, and increased recovery time.

However, each and every day the baby spends inside his mother's uterus is valuable to his development and ability to survive of the outside of the womb. Even during late pregnancy, the baby continues to grow, his brain develops, his little body stores more fat, and his little lungs grow stronger with the passing time. A mother's body also prepares for labor by dilating a few centimeters before labor even begins. If a woman goes beyond her estimated due date, it does not mean the baby is 'overdue.' This 'post-date' pregnancy should, however, be considered beneficial for the baby--an added opportunity for the baby to grow and develop.

At the end of pregnancy, if the pregnant woman is really tired and uncomfortable, and the idea of inducing seems welcome to her, and she is truly worried about going 'overdue,' there are better ways to know what is happening in her body than simply kicking the baby out. The baby's heart rate and movements can easily be monitored by the mother and the mother should pay attention to her body's signals. There is no need to cause an emergency situation when there is not one yet. Let the mother's body and the baby tell when it’s time. When the baby is fully developed and ready to live outside the womb, labor will assuredly start on its own. 

If you are interested in reading more about pregnancies that extend beyond 40 weeks, I recommend In their own sweet time: A journey into post-date pregnancy. For ideas on how to carry on after your due date, try Surviving an Overdue Pregnancy.

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