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Decided that you want your baby to travel through the birth canal to meet you? Two-thirds of mothers make the same choice!
Transcript: Delivering your baby is a rush, but it can also be a little bit scary. Remember that babies have arrived...
Delivering your baby is a rush, but it can also be a little bit scary. Remember that babies have arrived vaginally since the dawn of time, and that two-thirds of American babies still debut this way! The first-time mom can expect to labor for about fourteen hours, while repeat moms tend to take around eight. But because labor CAN last a few days, it helps to be prepared! Childbirth begins with labor, a three-stage process. The first stage of labor has 2 phases, latent and active phase. Latent labor is the longest phase and lasts from a few days to a few weeks. During latent labor, your cervix will dilate about three centimeters, a process that results in mild, brief contractions, which are spaced five to twenty minutes apart. Your amniotic sac MAY rupture now, but it's more likely that your water will break once you're in the hospital. Expect to notice discharge, known as the bloody show, and to experience back aches and cramping. At the end of latent labor, the active labor phase begins and you'll head to the hospital. During active labor, which usually lasts for several hours, your contractions will strengthen and occur about every three minutes. Try to stay as comfortable as possible during this period. Don't be afraid to ask for a back rub, or for help walking through a contraction. During the active phase of labor, you'll start your breathing exercises, if you plan to use them. If you're having a medicated birth and have not yet done so, you might ask for pain-relief now. At this point your cervix will open past four centimeters and labor will quicken. The result is very strong contractions which last about a minute and are spaced quite closely together. This part of your labor can be VERY intense, and you may experience nausea, fatigue, chills or sweats, and strong pressure in your lower back and rectum. Once your cervix is fully-dilated to ten centimeters, your labor will end and it will be time for stage two of childbirth: the delivery! To push your baby through the birth canal, a process that can take 60 minutes to several hours, you'll get into your preferred birthing position. Following the instructions of your doctor, you'll push as if you're having a bowel movement with each contraction. And don't worry: Your bowels and bladder may empty, or you may vomit, and that's normal! Between contractions, you'll rest and conserve your energy for that next push. Soon, your baby's head will appear, or crown. Once the head emerges fully, your doctor will suck mucous out of your baby's nose and mouth, and then guide him or her the rest of the way. The umbilical cord will be cut and your baby will be in your arms! But YOU'RE not done! It's time for stage three of childbirth: delivery of the placenta. This usually doesn't last longer than 20 minutes and is accompanied by mild contractions. Once the placenta is delivered, your doctor will stitch up any tears and you'll be free to nurse and cuddle your new arrival. Congratulations, Mom!More »
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It's important to be totally prepared for your baby's delivery. Get a checklist for hospital delivery by watching this video. m
Transcript: You've given a ton of thought to your new baby. But do you know what to expect on delivery day? Once...
You've given a ton of thought to your new baby. But do you know what to expect on delivery day? Once you arrive at the hospital to give birth, you will check into the labor and delivery unit. After you change into a hospital gown, your nurse will hook you up to a monitor that tracks your contractions and your baby's heart beat. will then start an IV, draw blood, and request a urine sample for testing. At this time, you'll want to tell the nurse about your delivery plan, whether you intend to breastfeed, and if you plan to participate in cord blood banking. Throughout early labor, the nurse or doctor will perform regular checks of your cervix to see how far it has dilated. If you choose, a doctor or anesthesiologist can also give you pain medication during the labor and delivery. Your partner can stay with you throughout the process, except if and when you receive an epidural, or if and when you are prepped for a C-section. Now you know what to expect from your hospital stay, so you can arrive there feeling confident.More »
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So, you've delievered your baby. But what next? Find out more about your hospital stay after birth by watching this video.
Transcript: So now that you've delivered your little one, what can you expect from the remainder of your hospital...
So now that you've delivered your little one, what can you expect from the remainder of your hospital stay? Congratulations! You're now ready to begin getting to know your new addition, and bonding with your baby. If you plan to breastfeed, you will usually start doing so within one hour of delivery. To help you get the hang of nursing, the hospital will send a lactation consultant to your room. Post-delivery, your doctor will come to check on you at least once, while nurses will monitor you around the clock. Provided your baby is healthy, you will be able to keep her with you for the rest of your stay. You'll also have the option of sending the baby to the nursery when you need a rest. Within 48 hours of a healthy vaginal delivery, and 96 hours of a healthy C-section, you and your new family will be able to leave the hospital. Remember, you need to install an appropriate car seat IN ADVANCE, as some states require this before you can drive home!More »
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A Cesarean section delivery often occurs if there is a labor or pregnancy complication. Get details on what happens during a C-section.
Transcript: If your baby is delivered by cesarean section, you're not alone: About 30 percent of babies born in the...
If your baby is delivered by cesarean section, you're not alone: About 30 percent of babies born in the United States make their arrival this way! So why might a C-section be necessary? Some women walk into delivery already slated to have a cesarean. These high-risk moms may have placenta problems, a breach presentation baby, a multi-fetal pregnancy or have had previous uterine surgery. Women who are HIV-positive or who have an active genital herpes infection may also require a C-section, so as not to pass the virus on to the baby. More frequently, though, a C-section is not scheduled in advance. If a woman's cervix doesn't dilate properly, or if the baby's head is too large to fit through the pelvis, a cesarean section becomes necessary. Other in-the-moment problems can also lead to emergency C-sections, such as fetal distress, a ruptured uterus, or a too-exhausted mom. So what happens during the procedure? First, anesthesia is administered. Most often, you'll get an epidural or spinal block, which numbs the lower half of your body, while still keeping you awake. If you're having an emergency C-section, there may not be enough time to numb you, in which case you'll be put to sleep with general anesthesia and wake up with a baby! Once numb, a catheter will be placed in your bladder and a drape will rest on your abdomen. This is so you don't have to see the incision. The doctor will make a horizontal cut just above your pubic hair line to start your C-section. Then, your baby will be lifted from your body, no worse for wear, and without the pointy cone-head of babies born vaginally. Your surgeon will then cut the umbilical cord and stitch you up, a procedure that can take up to thirty minutes as each layer of tissue is mended. The recovery from a cesarean section usually begins with three days in the hospital followed by six to eight weeks of rest at home. Because a cesarean is a major medical procedure, your mobility may be limited as you recover initially. You may also experience similar symptoms to moms who deliver vaginally, including cramping in your uterus, bloody discharge, and fatigue. Of course, as you wait for your post-surgical symptoms to pass, you can enjoy getting to know your new arrival, a worthwhile reward if ever there was one!More »
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When you go into labor, you may have to consider getting an epidural. Check out this video to learn all about epidurals, including their pros and cons.
Transcript: About half of all women who give birth in a hospital receive an epidural for pain relief. The goal of...
About half of all women who give birth in a hospital receive an epidural for pain relief. The goal of an epidural is to provide analgesia, or pain relief, rather than complete anesthesia, which is total lack of feeling. Epidurals work by blocking nerve impulses from your lower spine, in turn causing decreased sensation in the bottom portion of the body. Because a standard epidural seeks to provide pain relief, it's often combined with a narcotic medication, like morphine or fentanyl. An epidural can also contain MORE narcotics and LESS anesthetic, a procedure known as a combined-spinal epidural, or walking epidural. Although the pain may sometimes be greater with walking epidurals, some women prefer them because they may allow more personal control over pushing. Many physicians recommend that you enter the active phase of labor with the cervix dilated at least three centimeters before you get an epidural AND you must usually receive about a quart of intravenous fluid to prepare for the procedure. At that point the epidural catheter, a small tube, can be inserted into your epidural space. Epidurals provide pain reduction and may make labor easier for you, and the advantages with respect to pain management are quite clear.- If your labor is particularly long, an epidural may also let you get some much-needed rest. Also, you'll be fully present at your baby's birth since the medication does not sedate you. In terms of the disadvantages, epidurals MAY temporarily make pushing more difficult for you. In addition, about 1 to 3 of every 100 women who has an epidural can develop a severe headache in the days after the procedure, which usually gets better and can be treated. In about 10% of cases, an epidural may ALSO cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly, which may temporarily reduce blood flow to your baby. In addition, the epidural may cause temporary side effects that can include shivering, ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea, or difficulty urinatingSome mothers may wish to consider the potential effect of epidural anesthesia on newborns. Most medical research indicates that there is little or no medically significant effect of epidurals on newborns, while some studies suggest limited and temporary changes in newborn temperature and breastfeeding behaviors. For most women, the option of epidural anesthesia can provide pain relief during a difficult and stressful labor, with fairly limited risks. Despite the risks, many women weigh their options and decide that a pain-free labor and delivery is the way to go-and most doctors approve. As with all important decisions in pregnancy, discuss this with your obstetrician- preferably BEFORE you go into labor.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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Sometimes, it's necessary to induce labor under certain circumstances. Find out why labor is induced by watching this video.
Transcript: Did you know that one in five labors in the United States is induced? Here are the reasons why. Although...
Did you know that one in five labors in the United States is induced? Here are the reasons why. Although nature usually controls when you go into labor, there are times when a doctor may decide that you and your baby would benefit from delivering sooner rather than later. Labor is induced by forcing your contractions to start, either with medication or through mild manual stimulation, a procedure called stripping the membranes. If you have a medical condition that may put you at risk for delivery complications-such as diabetes or high blood pressure-your doctor may plan to induce labor from the get-go. This will allow him to monitor your labor and to control the way it progresses so that you and your baby stay safe. If tests show that your baby has stopped growing normally, your doctor may decide to induce labor early. On the flip side, your doctor might also decide to induce if your baby is a week or more late. That's because if your pregnancy lasts too long, your placenta can become diminished and may no longer be able to provide sustenance your baby. An over-long stay in the womb may also result in your baby breathing in fecal matter. Another reason why labor might be induced is if your amniotic sac ruptures-commonly known as your water breaking-but contractions do not begin. If labor does not begin within 24-hours of this event, complications can occur. Other conditions that may require labor induction, or even a C-section, include....An infection in your uterus, a baby that is lying sideways in the womb, a cord prolapse - whereby the umbilical cord drops into the vagina - and placenta previa - whereby the placenta is covering the cervix. Very rarely, labor may be induced for nonmedical reasons; for example, if you live very far from the hospital. Inducing labor for nonmedical reasons is controversial, however, as there are minor risks involved with the procedure. Whether your induction is planned or occurs unexpectedly, you can rest assured that once labor has begun, it will very likely proceed naturally.More »
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How is labor induced? There are certain medical procedures that are used to dilate the cervix and speed up the labor process. Watch this to get detailed information.
Transcript: If your doctor has decided to induce labor, you might want to know how it's done. During a natural labor,...
If your doctor has decided to induce labor, you might want to know how it's done. During a natural labor, the lower end of the uterus, called the cervix, softens. This process is called ripening. Next, the cervix thins out, or effaces, and opens, or dilates. The cervix must be fully effaced and dilated for a baby's head to come through. To induce labor, this process is speeded along in one of the following ways. Your doctor may insert a finger into your vagina and move it back and forth to separate the membrane that connects your amniotic sac to your uterine wall. Following this procedure-which is called stripping the membranes-your body releases prostaglandin hormones, which can lead to the start of your contractions. Your doctor may also choose to ripen your cervix by giving you manmade versions of prostaglandins to take by mouth or vagina. The cervix can also be ripened with a balloon-like device, which is inserted into the vagina and then filled with water. This causes the cervix to expand. If your cervix has already started to open, your doctor may move your labor along by using a plastic hook to manually break your amniotic sac, which should lead to contractions. As a final method of labor induction, your doctor may decide to give you an intravenous dose of Pitocin. This drug is an artificial form of the hormone oxytocin, which also occurs naturally in the body to trigger and strengthen contractions. With the exception of stripping the membranes, which is done in a doctor's office, all of these procedures are done in the hospital. If you still don't go into labor after your doctor tries one of these methods, however, you will probably need to have a C-section.More »
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While there will be plenty of mess and blood during delivery, some of that mess could potentially be helpful in the future…like cord blood. Check out this video to learn more about cord blood.
Transcript: If you're pregnant, you've no doubt begun to hear a lot about cord blood. Here are the basics. First,...
If you're pregnant, you've no doubt begun to hear a lot about cord blood. Here are the basics. First, the facts. After a baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, some blood remains in the vessels of the baby's placenta and the cord attached to it. This is known as cord, or placental, blood. Cord blood has all the elements of normal blood, plus a rich supply of hematopoietic, or blood-forming, stem cells. These are similar to the cells found in bone marrow. For this reason, cord blood is increasingly replacing bone marrow in stem cell experimentation. In addition, cord blood transfers can be used to treat and improve some pediatric cancers and blood disorders. Today, cord blood can only be transplanted from a donor into a recipient who is a match. This is similar to how a bone marrow transplant works, although cord blood transplants use less stringent matching criteria. The cord blood from a baby will also have a high likelihood of matching with the baby's parents and any of the baby's siblings, so the benefits of familial cord blood extend beyond the donor. As of today, only a few illnesses can be treated with cord blood, so it is statistically unlikely that any individual will need the use of his or her cord blood. But because stem cell research is always evolving, many people believe that cord blood will have even more uses in the future.More »
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There are a few options for storing cord blood. Learn about them by watching this video.
Transcript: If you're pregnant, you may be wondering if you should store your baby's cord blood. There are actually...
If you're pregnant, you may be wondering if you should store your baby's cord blood. There are actually two decisions which you'll need to make in regard to your baby's cord blood. First, whether you'd like it harvested, and second, whether to donate it or store it in a private facility. The American Medical Association urges everyone to harvest their cord blood - most objections to this procedure are made on religious grounds, not medical ones. The more controversial decision is whether to store your cord blood at a cord blood bank or to donate it to a public bank. A publicly owned bank stows this blood for the general public, much like when you donate your own blood to the Red Cross. Whether you donate or not, the assumption is that if you or your baby should need cord blood that it will be available to you from a similar public bank. Meanwhile, a privately owned bank stores your cord blood for a fee, allowing it to be used solely by your own family. A private cord blood bank is not cheap. The average rate is a $2,000 collection fee with a $125 fee for annual storage. Proponents of this system say storing your cord blood privately is the best way to ensure that your family will have access to matching cord blood if it is needed. This debate will continue long after you have your baby. Make the choice that works for you and your family and feel good about it.More »
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If labor and delivery with an obstetrician sounds too clinical and detached for you, watch this video to learn what delivery with a midwife may be like. Learn the facts on midwives in this video.
Transcript: If using an obstetrician sounds too clinical for your delivery, a midwife may be an excellent alternative....
If using an obstetrician sounds too clinical for your delivery, a midwife may be an excellent alternative. Although midwives deliver less than 10% of all babies born in America, the percentage has been steadily growing since the 1970s. Midwives have the philosophy that pregnancy and birth are natural events, and typically do not make use of pain medications or advanced monitoring technologies. Instead, they focus on supporting the mother-to-be as nature takes its course. There are many different types of midwives who can assist with labor and delivering your baby, either at a hospital or in your home. Most midwives can also perform gynecological exams and provide prenatal care. Perhaps the most educated of this set are certified nurse-midwives, or CNMs. CNMs are trained as both midwives and nurses and have to pass a licensing exam from the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Certified professional midwives are similar to CNMs, but without the nursing training, and are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives... Direct entry midwives, on the other hand, largely attain their education through an apprenticeship. While a midwife can be a good choice in many cases, there are some situations in which a mom-to-be should opt for a doctor instead. For example, most midwives are not qualified to handle multiple births or high-risk pregnancies. They also cannot deliver pain medications and are unable to perform C-sections or administer emergency services. For this reason, choosing to have a midwife-assisted birth should only be done after careful consideration.More »
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A doula can provide you with emotional and mental support during labor and delivery. Watch this video to know about delivery with a doula by your side.
Transcript: Are you giving birth as a single mother? Do you worry that your partner may not be able to offer enough...
Are you giving birth as a single mother? Do you worry that your partner may not be able to offer enough support during delivery? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then a doula-the Greek word for "women's servant"-may be for you. A doula is a non-medical assistant who is trained to provide emotional, mental and physical support during labor and delivery, but who does not replace your doctor. Some doulas also offer breastfeeding consulting, newborn care assistance, and further support postpartum. During labor and delivery, your doctor and nurses will be concerned with both your baby's health and your well being, a doula will focus entirely on you. Having this kind of personal, undivided support during labor can be a great relief to some women. Generally, the doula/patient relationship begins a few months before the birth, as the doula helps to devise a birth plan. While doulas do not provide medical care, they are knowledgeable in the medical aspects of birth, allowing them to help patients understand the process. During delivery, a doula can provide comfort and pain relief using any number of methods, like massage and breathing exercises. Note that a doula will never replace your partner if you have one, but she will help him or her to participate and soothe you. The most important thing to know about a doula, though, is to make sure you choose one with whom you feel comfortable and confidentMore »
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Every woman goes through various physical changes after giving birth to a baby. Click here to find out what they are and how to deal with your post-partum body.
Transcript: You expected to lose weight after your baby was born, but not your hair... After you give birth, you'll...
You expected to lose weight after your baby was born, but not your hair... After you give birth, you'll notice a lot of changes! For starters, even though you won't lose all your pregnancy weight immediately, your body will get you off to a good start. Immediately following the birth, on average, you will shed a seven-pound baby, two pounds of placenta, and two pounds of amniotic fluid. Plus, all the extra water that you retained during your pregnancy will now be looking for a way out. For this reason, you'll produce a HUGE three quarts of urine a day, causing more weight loss. Because you're producing so much urine, you'll probably urinate more often than you're used to, although this won't last for long. Post baby, you may also notice that you're losing a lot of hair-even handfuls of it! Rest assured, however, that this temporary side effect is just the result of your decreasing pregnancy hormones. The first couple of months with your new baby can require a real adjustment. Hang in there though -most of the post partum effects will subside within the first year.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-02 | Tags »
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There will be changes in your sex lives after you become parents but it doesn’t have to be any less exciting. Click here for more details about your post-partum sex life.
Transcript: Saying hello to a new baby does not mean saying goodbye to a great sex life! Immediately after a vaginal...
Saying hello to a new baby does not mean saying goodbye to a great sex life! Immediately after a vaginal delivery, your vagina will be stretched out, sore and bruised. Because you need time to heal, most doctors recommend waiting until your six-week checkup before resuming intercourse. When you do get back in the bedroom, you may notice that you produce less lubrication than you did pre-baby. This is due to lower levels of estrogen in your body, something which will be even more pronounced if you're breastfeeding. Luckily, a water-based lubricant will help with vaginal dryness. If things still feel "stretched out" post delivery, you can tighten up with Kegel exercises. To do a Kegel, imagine that you're trying to stop a flow of urine midstream. If you repeat it often, that squeeze and lift will tighten your vagina. Once you work past these early difficulties, though, note that you will need to use birth control. Your period won't start right away - it could take two months to a full year post-baby - but that doesn't mean you're not ovulating! Most doctors recommend using a condom, as a diaphragm can slip around inside your post-pregnancy vagina, and an IUD can't be installed until you've healed. In addition, hormonal birth control is not encouraged if you're breastfeeding, because the hormones can contradict milk production. Getting used to sex post-baby may take some time. But, just like when you were making your baby, practice will make perfect!More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-26 | Tags »
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