Childbirth

Many women want their partner actively involved in their birth. For some women that means they want him to be their main source of physical and emotional comfort. For others, simply having him there to hold a hand and stroke their hair is enough. Whatever role a woman wants her partner to play, there are a few ways to encourage him to participate.
During one of my checks I noticed that her baby’s heartbeat was only in the 90s when it should have been between 120-160. I went to tell the midwife, who came in and listened as well.
Most women opt to wear a hospital gown for the birth of our babies. And while I understand that a hospital gown is undeniably convenient - no worry about getting it messy or having to clean it - they are notoriously ugly and revealing.
Dear Honest Midwife, I have been a midwife for over seven years, doing home births. I have built up a good practice and really love working with women and babies. I am making decent money, enough that we are now finally making a comfortable living and have everything we need as a family. I should be happy, but I’m not. 
I’m so sorry about the way your midwife has failed to stay connected with you! I am sure that hurts right now when you need support the most. I hope that I can help you understand that you should not take this personally.
Dear Honest Midwife, I'm at 33 weeks with my first baby and planning a home birth. Lately I've been having serious swelling. My midwife checked my urine and says I'm spilling protein. She put me on a high protein diet and told me to take alfalfa tablets.
I have struggled with the truth about home birth for years, and I realized it was like a religion to me. I knew all the "correct" answers to give to explain away problems with homebirthing. Within my small circle of friends, I learned of many scary situations and complications that happened during home births.
I'm trying to decide whether or not to hire a doula for my next birth. Do you think they really help. Any tips for how to pick the right doula?
Although I am now retired from the practice of midwifery, I am here to answer your questions about home birth, birth centers, natural birth, and anything else you ever wanted to ask a "crunchy" midwife. Feel free to send in your questions.
Years ago my Grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I remember my whole family discussing and educating themselves on the options available and whether to do radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. Any of these three treatments would probably have taken care of the problem, but in the end they decided that surgery would be the best course for him.
Every one of us knows that labor is no walk in the park. Let’s be real: it’s usually downright painful and despite what some people claim, there’s no such thing as orgasmic birth. However, the pain you experience in labor does not always mean you are suffering. Allow me to explain!
I don’t care if you had a natural birth. I don’t care if you had an epidural. I don’t care if you got induced in week 40 or if you went 10 days past your estimated due date.
In labor, continuous monitoring increases the risks of many interventions, including pitocin, epidurals, and cesarean birth, without improving birth outcomes for mother or baby.
There are reasons why a woman may be told by her care provider that she is not “allowed” to attempt a VBAC even though she is a good candidate.
What’s the first thing you do if you smack your funny bone? Without even thinking about it, you rub your elbow. You’re using gate control to alleviate your pain - even if you don’t have any idea what that is. What does this mean for labor?
A laboring mom’s job is to take one contraction at a time. But the partner can help by thinking ahead.
Now having been through it, there are 7 things I wish I’d known before I went into my first birth.
During early labor try to follow your normal routine, alternate rest with activity, and keep eating and drinking.
Birth doulas can be an extremely valuable source of support to mothers before, during and just after childbirth. Doulas, however, are not trained medical providers, and thus, there are limits on what they can and cannot do.
The first thing you should do if you are overdue is to wait. Have patience and let your baby decide what his or her birthday will be.
Lying flat on the back, also known as the lithotomy position, turns out to be one of the hardest positions there is to give birth in (short of standing on your head!)
Yes, research and statistics are important, but sometimes the best gift we have to offer a pregnant woman is a story. We crave the I-know-about-a-woman-similar-to-you-who-did-it stories.
Operative vaginal delivery methods, which sometimes include forceps and vacuums, are sometimes used as an alternative to cesarean delivery during the second stage of labor.
While no one can predict how your labor will go, thinking about your ideal will help you make decisions now and in labor. It’s important to choose a provider with a similar philosophy to yours.
I very much believe in a woman’s right to choose where she gives birth. However, to me, it’s just not worth the small risk of a catastrophic complication occurring that could have been managed in the hospital setting but that is deadly at home without an operating room and full medical team.
A former CPM, Leigh Fransen, has bravely stepped forward to blow the whistle on the illegal practices of homebirth midwives in the United States.
I know that CPMs are not real midwives from reading the MANA Statement of Values and Ethics, by which NARM recommends they practice. I have copied portions of it below, with my emphasis.
Times have changed and the doula profession has grown up. I don’t spend nearly as much time as I used to explaining that doulas provide professional labor support.
Frequent position changes can still be done in moms who have the epidural, including various positions using a peanut ball.
We are a citizen-led coalition of home birth families, midwives, doctors & advocates who have come together to work toward a better, safer homebirth system.
As a culture we believe that pain is unacceptable. But when we numb out sensation in labor, we diminish our endorphin levels. The pain is dulled, but so is the exuberance we are meant to experience afterwards.
Anyone who has looked into state midwifery laws in the U.S. has come to the same alarming conclusion: in many states, homebirth midwives are virtually unregulated.
What do you think? After teaching natural childbirth classes for twenty-three years, I’ve learned that natural birth means different things to different people.
“Just because there are a few bad CPMs out there doesn’t mean that all CPMs should be vilified,” is a statement I have often read/heard when getting into discussions about home birth midwifery. I wholly disagree with that statement. Here’s why."
Labor & Delivery offers no shortage of moments that run the full spectrum of emotions. But sometimes, things that occur in the process of bringing babies into the world that just make you take a step back and laugh.
Did you know that when your baby is born, 30% of his or her cord blood will still be in the placenta? Waiting to clamp and cut the cord will allow your baby to receive this vital blood.
The midwifery bills under consideration in Maryland and North Carolina would make it legal for direct-entry midwives to attend homebirths.
When examining the topic of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), uterine rupture is commonly cited as the major risk, but understanding exactly how it happens and who is most at risk for it to occur is a common source of confusion.
I’ve recently learned of yet another baby dying during a home birth. This was a planned, midwife-attended home VBAC (also known as HBAC, home birth after cesarean).
I became a doula because I wanted to combine helping young mothers with getting experience in the field of obstetrics. I began attending births as a doula when I was 16, and given that I was so young, I focused on working with teen moms.
Homebirth midwives “value the art of letting go.” Letting go of what, exactly? The lives of babies born at homebirths.
This week I’m celebrating World Doula Week and thinking about suggestions I share with new doulas at my trainings. Here are my top ten suggestions for becoming a super labor doula.
Working in Labor & Delivery can be extremely stressful and oftentimes overwhelming, but there’s a reason why we keep coming back. Watching women turn into mothers and men into fathers will never get old.
The most important question to ask when considering an exam, like any other test, is “What will we do with this information?”
I sometimes wonder what my feelings about home birth would be now if we would have gone through with our home birth plans.
Some out-of-hospital birth scenarios are higher risk than others, as is shown in the chart below. The Risk Ratio (RR) is calculated from neonatal mortality rates (NNM) with respect to hospital midwives (RR=1).
Oxytocin, both the natural hormone that the body produces and the synthetic form of the drug, helps uterine contractions remain regular and strong to assist during labor and to decrease bleeding after delivery.
I am a mom and a physicist, and at one time I attempted to give birth at a birth center. But I wouldn’t make that choice again, because I’ve since learned about the risks to my baby.
This blog post will attempt to explain the various caregivers that may be participating in your labor and delivery and explain what their role will be in making your baby’s birthday as safe and memorable as possible.
When we were pregnant with our first baby, we wanted to give birth at home. It’s a long story, but here are my top 5 reasons we ended up choosing hospital birth.
According to Wikipedia, a water birth refers to childbirth, usually human, that occurs in water.