"Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go."
-Fred Rogers

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Labor and Delivery Day Made Easy: Nine Months Worth of Preparation

I'm welcoming another guest post today here at Gentle Beginning. One of my main goals with GB is to help moms and families know all their options when they are expecting a baby so they can engage in truly informed choice. With that in mind, I'd like to thank Katie Moore for sharing this information and I hope this piece is helpful for you or someone you love!
The one addition I'd like to make to the following post is, if you're pregnant, please also research pulse oximetry screening of a newborn as a way to catch a Congenital Heart Defect in your baby. You can learn more at Cora's Story.
Labor and Delivery Day Made Easy: Nine Months Worth of Preparation
A smooth labor and birthing day relies on many decisions made during pregnancy. Educating yourself about prenatal care and birthing options and health care for the child is the best preparation for the momentous experience of having a baby.


Choice of a health care provider often reflects the type of birth experience a woman would like to have. An obstetrician/gynecologist is the best option for someone who prefers a medical doctor trained to take care of pregnant women and to deliver babies, or for a woman who is high risk.  An obstetrician will be able to perform a cesarean section in case of an emergency. Delivering baby in a hospital can add an extra peace of mind for anyone with a high-risk pregnancy. Hospitals, however, may be less flexible when it comes to altering their standard policies for women in labor who are low risk and who want to have a more natural birth. A midwife would be a better option for a mother looking to have an at home birth. A midwife can also deliver a baby at a hospital or clinic depending on local laws. A doula, which is not a licensed health care provider, will provide the most emotional support for a mother. Doulas are full of knowledge and will guide a mother through her prenatal and postnatal experience. Also, a woman can choose to have a pediatrician, a family doctor, or another type of practitioner (like a chiropractor or a more natural doctor) care for her baby after pregnancy. Make sure you research all of your birthing center options and medical professionals before your labor begins and baby arrives.


When you find out that you’re expecting a child make sure to meet with your health care provider, (whether it is a family doctor, OBGYN, or midwife) or consult with your doula first, to begin tracking your pregnancy progress and your health. Speak to your doctor about continuing or starting any exercise routine. Exercise during pregnancy used to be linked to miscarriages, however, exercise is now shown to be very beneficial for an expecting mother’s and baby’s health.


An equally important task is to think through the care options for the baby post-delivery, namely, choosing a health care provider for baby, formula feeding vs. breastfeeding, and cord blood banking. It’s also important to know your baby needs to have tests and screenings done before he or she leaves the hospital. Your baby will also have many doctor visits during the beginning of his or her life so having a health care provider you are comfortable working with is important. When it comes to feeding your child, the choice between breastfeeding or formula feeding is a very important decision. A woman should be educated on the benefits and importance of breastfeeding, as the nutritional value from breastfeeding may not be achieved through formula feeding. Some women may not have the option of breastfeeding due to medical issues, but if she does have the choice, she should be informed about her decision. Cord blood banking is an optional post-delivery procedure where the umbilical cord blood is collected and stored for potential use in a future medical treatment for the baby or maybe a sibling.


On the day of delivery, the most important thing is to stay calm and remember that birthing is a natural process. Listening to one’s body and trusting the guidance of the care providers will help getting through the labor and delivery with the least amount of stress. Once the baby is born, the mother and the child need to rest and bond.  Nothing can replace this initial contact between the two.


Lastly, it is equally important to prepare for unplanned procedures and changes to the intended course of events. Regardless of whether the labor and delivery goes as planned or not, nothing is going to diminish the joy of welcoming you new bundle of joy into the world.


This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche.  If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact by visiting her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter @moorekm26.

What more would you add to the information above? What would you like to tell women and partners about preparing for pregnancy and birth?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spreading the Word About Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treatment

I recently received the following email:

Hi Tricia,
I am contacting you on behalf of the Public Outreach Department at DrugWatch.com. I saw that you had some great posts and was wondering if you would be interested in a guest blog post from our writers to help raise awareness about a serious women’s issue involved with pelvic organ prolapse.

This condition, which typically affects women after childbirth, a hysterectomy or menopause, has a rocky history when it comes to its popular means of treatment. Since the 1990’s a product called transvaginal mesh has led to a series of complications the most serious of which includes organ puncture, infection and in extreme cases loss of life. Being a doula site I thought that this topic would be a good way to get this important information out women to keep them informed about the condition should it come up later down the road.
f this is something you would be interested in or if you have any questions please let me know. I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks so much for your time.
Best Regards,
Jeff Jocoy
Public Outreach

I did a bit of research and agreed that this was a topic my readers would find relevant and interesting, so I'd like to welcome Elizabeth Carrollton, who writes about defective medical devices and medication safety for Drugwatch.com. I hope you enjoy this guest blog piece.

Pelvic organ prolapse, or POP, is a condition that affects approximately half of all women at some point in their lives. It occurs when a weakened or stretched pelvic floor allows pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus and rectum, to drop lower than they should be in the pelvis, placing pressure on the vagina.

Most frequently, POP becomes evident in the years leading up to menopause or after a woman has gone through the change of life. While severe cases may require surgical repair, if caught in its early stages, POP can usually be treated successfully with non-invasive therapies. Unfortunately, many women are unaware of POP risk, and since the symptoms of POP can be embarrassing, many women who have them suffer in silence rather than seeking diagnosis and treatment.

How it Happens

In most cases, POP is a condition that has developed over many years, as damage to the pelvic floor — due to childbirth, heavy lifting, excess body weight and other factors — gradually weakens its muscles and ligaments. Then, when menopause approaches, the changes in hormone levels and body chemistry that occur cause those tissues to lose elasticity, becoming even weaker, leading to more prominent symptoms.

Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

POP can involve the prolapse of one pelvic organ or several. Women with mild cases may show no symptoms, while those with moderate to severe POP can experience symptoms that include pressure or pain in the lower abdomen or back, and pain during sex. In women with severe POP, organs may begin to protrude through the vaginal opening, and constipation can become a problem as prolapsed organs obstruct bowel function.


Mild to moderate POP is often treated with physical therapy, which consists mainly of pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the weakened pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises, Pilates and yoga are often recommended, and can reduce or even eliminate POP symptoms. Maintaining a healthy body weight can help, as can avoiding tobacco products and eating well. All of these treatments are also excellent for POP prevention.


Severe POP that does not respond to lesser treatments can usually be corrected with surgery. However, women who are considering this option or have already had surgery should know about the risks involved with procedures that use transvaginal mesh implants for POP repair. These implants are inserted through the vagina (transvaginally) to support the pelvic organs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised that procedures using transvaginal mesh have not been proven any more effective than those that don't. The agency has issued alerts on transvaginal mesh products, citing concerns over disturbing rates of serious complications. Among the most frequently reported problems are erosion of mesh through the vaginal walls, mesh shrinkage, organ perforation and infection all of which have led some woman to begin filing a vaginal mesh lawsuit.

Women should ask their surgeon whether he intends to use transvaginal mesh, and if so, why he feels it is necessary. If a woman is not satisfied with his explanation, she should get a second opinion. For women who already have a mesh implant, they need to make sure their doctor is on the lookout for these complications.

Author Bio: Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and medication safety for Drugwatch.com.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Birth of Caleb

On March 5, 2010, Allison and Bob welcomed their first son into the world. They took HypnoBirthing with me at Elmhurst Yoga Shala to prepare for their baby's birth. Their first baby's birth story can be found here:  http://www.triciafitzgerald.blogspot.com/2010/03/zachary-john-has-arrived.html

Recently Allison and Bob came back to the studio for a refresher in HypnoBirthing, and they even got to share their amazing birth story with a new group of expectant parents. Below is an email I recently received from Allison. It describes the recent birth of their second son, and it is awesome. I'm thrilled they were able to welcome another child safely, gently, and peacefully. Congratulations Allison and Bob, and welcome baby Caleb!!

Hi Tricia,

Finally getting around to sending you my birth story. I think you will be particularly amused to know that I heard your voice in my head during the final stages of labor...

I felt like things may be "happening" on Thursday but nothing ever developed over the day. However, at my regular appointment on Friday the 13th, midwife checked and I was already 6 cm dilated. So she advised that I go ahead to the hospital and have water broken, because she suspected that would be all I needed to get going. Everyone at the hospital was looking at me sideways, because they could not believe I was 6 cm dilated and relatively unaffected! Of course I was very relaxed ;)

Midwife broke my water and then asked me to walk around for a while. After an hour or so, I felt that I should return to my room. Still nothing really happened, and I felt a bit tense so I asked Bob to do the balloon release with me. This stuff works!!! Soon after we completed the release exercise, I began having noticeable surges and using my breathing. Midwife checked again and said I was very thinned but still 6 cm, so I think we were all a bit surprised at the speed in which the rest of the birth followed.

Bob and I just continued along, "doing our thing," and had not seen the nurse and midwife in quite some time. The nurse I had was familiar with HypnoBirthing. I think they were just leaving us alone for the most part. Surges became more intense, and I became aware that I was grunting and beginning to push. This is where I heard your voice in my head... "if you hear Mom start to grunt..." I wasn't sure that Bob would remember that from class! so I managed to tell him that I felt a lot of pressure. He said later that he did realize things had changed from the pattern of surges he could see on the monitor. Poor Bob, he went scrambling for the call button and told them I had a lot of pressure. The midwife strolled in and nonchalantly said she would check me. She was rather surprised herself and said "oh, the head is right there!" Then she was the one scrambling for the call button, lol. She said "I need a nurse now, my patient is delivering!" A few minutes later, Caleb was here.

For additional fun details, there was cool atmospheric enhancement during my labor and birth... there was a crazy storm at the time with super strong thunder and lightning during my strongest surges. Then at the moment of Caleb's birth, the sun came out!!

So 2 1/2 hours total labor time, yay HypnoBirthing! Midwife and nurses kept commenting on how focused and relaxed I was, yay HypnoBirthing! I really think HypnoBirthing is the best-kept secret in women's care. Why doesn't every woman use it?!?! I truly don't believe that I just got lucky twice with my birth experiences. I know that I was able to successfully use HypnoBirthing as a tool to create the results I wanted.