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I was reading one of the many birth blogs I follow, and came across this wonderful HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) birth story about a strong woman who worked very hard to have the birth she wanted second time around! I encourage you to head over to Women in Charge and read about this great birth! But the part that struck me most of all, that I will immediately add to my toolbox when I work with any birthing woman is the following:

My mantra was that I be yoga’s corpse pose in between contractions. It worked. I slept. I had prepared by meditating on a chart given by my hypnotherapist of a typical hour of active labor – a 1.5 minute contraction divided into three equal parts is, 30-seconds rise, 30-seconds peak, 30-seconds fall. Being 3 minutes apart, as contractions usually are in this stage, means that in one hour, there is 15 minutes of contractions, only 5 of which are peak, leaving 45 minutes of absolute nothing – REST.

When you do the math, it really works out to 7 minutes/hour of peak contractions, but hey, the birthing woman was in laborland! CtxPieChart I just love this image! ONLY SEVEN MINUTES OF PEAK CONTRACTION SENSATIONS IN AN HOUR! We can do that. right? Seven minutes of hard peaky contractions in an hour! You bet, with support, and trust and patience, a birthing woman can do this for an hour, and another and even another, if need be!

I can’t wait to share this mental image at my next prenatal meeting with clients! Maybe I even bring some colored pencils and paper to our prenatal, and we draw a wonderful pie chart or other representation of the seven peak minutes of contractions that occur in an hour of labor!

I will let you know how it is received. And I would love to hear your favorite visualization tip that works well for your clients. Share with me and let me learn!

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I have always shared with both my doula clients and my childbirth students that less is more when it comes to baby hygiene products, and bathing your newborn and infant. Reality is, little babes do not get all that dirty, (it’s not like they are crawling through the mud or anything! and what is wrong with mud anyway?) and their skin is ever so sensitive. I have always stated that just plain water is the ONLY product that babies need on their skin and in their hair and on their bottom on a regular basis. And, too much bathing can be drying on their tender newborn skin. If parents feel the need to bathe with a product, the purest, most simple product available is the best, without artificial dyes, without fragrance, free of petroleum products, free of preservatives. Simple is better, plain water is best. Today I read in the Washington Post, that more than half the baby shampoo, lotion and other infant care products analyzed by a health advocacy group were found to contain trace amounts of two chemicals that are believed to cause cancer. Wow! Probable Carcinogens Found in Baby Toiletries will open your eyes to the truth around less is more when it comes to using such products on your gentle newborn.

Clients, Jodi and little Cash enjoy a bath together

Clients, Jodi and little Cash enjoy a bath together

Additionally, I encourage my clients to look into the benefits of delaying the first bath for their newborn. For homebirthers, this is not usually an issue, no one ever seems to be in a rush to bathe the baby, and sometimes many days pass before it moves to the top of the list. In a hospital setting, there is often great pressure by care providers to get the baby bathed, especially if the new family is being moved to a postpartum room elsewhere on the unit. It always seems as if there is a big, master checklist of things that HAVE to happen before the family relocates, and bathing is often right up there. When the bath occurs in the first few hours, mom is not quite physically able to participate as she is still regaining her footing after birthing a human being. The baby will have nursed and settled down, only to be disturbed by this “necessary” activity. Often it is the nurse or nursing assistant who does the bath, with the proud partner standing by and taking pictures, and mama across the room, in the bed, resting. How much nicer if the first bath could be in the arms of a parent, shared bathing in the big, large bathtub, safe in the arms and on the chest of those who love them most. Even better, if this happens at home, after discharge. Over the years, I have heard so many discussions from providers on why the baby needs to be bathed asap, including…”We will have to handle your baby with gloves, until it is bathed…” which I personally think is a good thing in the hospital anyway, bath or no! Also…”We consider your baby a biohazard and will have to post something on the door to your room warning people of this…” which I also think is a good thing, keeps the riffraff out!

My intuition is backed up by the research! Check out this study: Host defense proteins in vernix caseosa and amniotic fluid This study questions the routine use of some newborn procedures. Early bathing of the baby removes vernix, which contains antimicrobial proteins that are active against group B. streptococcus and E. coli. Delaying the bath and keeping the newborn together with his or her mother until breastfeeding is established may prevent some cases of devastating infections caused by these bacteria. The fact that preterm babies tend to have more vernix than babies born at or after 40 weeks might mean that healthy, stable preterm babies derive even greater benefit from staying with their mothers during the immediate newborn period.

Finally, this study illustrates how the normal physiology of pregnancy and fetal development is part of a continuum that extends beyond birth to the newborn period. The place for a newborn is right on his/her mama’s chest, skin to skin, for as long as possible. And letting that vernix work it’s way into the baby’s skin is just added protection from the “big bad outside” that the newborn is becoming familiar with.

Keeping the diaper area clean and dry, washing the baby’s hands and face with warm water several times a day, and the occasional bath safe in the arms of a parent, with just water is all your kidlet needs to get off to a healthy start!

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Another stellar post by The Well-Rounded Mama! A History of VBACs and Cesareans in the USA

ribbon-no-text-full2How this mama finds the time to put all this together and shares her information so freely simply amazes me. I encourage you all to read this well written post, and follow the her links, and you will be amazed at the total lack of evidence based medical practices being applied to women who have birthed by Cesarean and are seeking a different journey this time! Thank you Well-Rounded Mama, for being so well-rounded!

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