Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Top Ten Things I Wish Every Expectant Family Knew About Birth

This is a list that was written and posted by one of my favorite local midwives, Stephanie S. - it is excellent! I too wish that all expectant families knew these things! Here it is, posted with Stephanie's permission..... Save it. Share it. Love it.


10 - Babies aren't breathing inside your body!
I can hear some of you now...saying you knew this. If you know this, then why is a waterbirth so scary to you? Baby is underwater RIGHT NOW...spending an extra 5 seconds in water isn't going to cause the baby harm.

9 - There is no reason to cut the cord immediately.
What reason would there be? The blood in the cord is all baby's blood, not moms...they don't if you lift baby up, blood won't go into MOM, it can't. And mom's blood won't overfill baby, it can't. In fact, if you NEVER cut the cord and carry baby AND placenta until it falls off naturally, baby would be just fine!

8 - Midwives are MEDICALLY TRAINED care providers.
We aren't just people who think births are cool and bring teas...we are medically trained to facilitate a healthy pregnancy and birth, recognize when things are becoming unhealthy or risky, and are prepared to respond appropriately when issues come up.

7 - Your BODY knows how to give birth!
I am slightly amused that we can get pregnant without supervision or classes, we never question our body's ability to GROW the baby, we don't have to think about whether our uterus will know how to grow or think about whether the placenta will grow for our baby...yet when it comes to birth, we are highly skeptical over whether our bodies will know when/how to go into labor and whether it will know how to give birth. If your body has functioned perfectly until now...WHY are you questioning it??

6 - You are the boss when it comes to your prenatal care.
Your care provider (doctor/midwife) can't MAKE you do anything, and can't LET you do anything. You have hired THEM and YOU are the boss. If you don't follow a recommendation or a hospital policy...what are they going to do to you? You are also responsible for your care - it is up to YOU to keep yourself healthy, not your care provider. S/he will just be able to tell you if what you're doing to keep yourself healthy is working and give suggestions...but it's up to you!

5 - Be patient!
You will only be pregnant with this little baby ONCE in your entire life! Be patient for baby to come will probably miss this once it's over! And when you're in labor, allow your body and baby to do what it must - worrying about the time will not make it happen any faster. (quite the opposite) so rather than cervical exams and clock-watching....just rest and allow it to be as short or as long as it needs to be.

4 - Baby's size matters VERY little.
our bodies don't want to grow babies too big to come out - that wouldn't help our species very much, would it!? Head's 'cone' and shape to fit the pelvis (they are made to do that!), fat bellies and thighs squish to fit through, our pelvis separates and opens up... HOW baby is trying to come out is infinitely more important than how much fat is on the baby's little butt. (if baby's head is crooked to the side so the ear is trying to come out first, for example) The difference in birthing a 10.5 pound baby vs. a 7.5 pound baby is actually very little.

3 - Not all newborn babies cry.
Sometimes the birth is so gentle and easy and smooth....babies come out and they don't cry. And that's okay!! so long as baby is breathing and happy - what's the problem??

2 - Children are usually totally fine seeing birth.
They take cues from those around them about what's happy, what's scary, etc. Almost always children are totally fine seeing their siblings born - so long as the adults in the room are happy and excited and not scared. If the father is scared....doesn't matter over what...the children tend to get scared. (you should see how scared my kids get of spiders because of how I react!)

You are having a baby...have fun with it! Enjoy the end of your pregnancy, don't forget to smile in labor, and don't worry about diaper counts and such to the point that you forget to enjoy your baby. when you are on your death bed looking back over the events of your life - you will likely look at this point of time and say, "THAT is the best time in my doesn't get better than right there!" Prime of your life, growing and raising your babies....HAVE FUN WITH IT!


  1. >> 4 - Baby's size matters VERY little.
    our bodies don't want to grow babies too big to come out - that wouldn't help our species very much, would it!? ...10.5 pound baby vs. a 7.5 pound baby is actually very little.

    This thought makes so much sense, but it is fantasy idea. Labor a few hundred women with 10#+ pound babies and say that. Women (and animals) all over the world occasionally bear babies that are too big for them to deliver. This is why tends of thousands of women in Africa (unmolested by Obstetricians) have vesicovaginal fistulas - they could not deliver until their pelvic floor necrosed under enough pressure to deliver their then-dead baby. The same thing happened in our country before the advent of modern Obstetrics. In fact, the first successful vesicovaginal fistula repairs were done in this country by J Sims in South Carolina in pre-civil War antebellum south, on women who had no access to cesarean delivery. In developed countries we do cesareans before that can happen.

    Sometimes people have bigger babies than they can deal with. They always deserve a trial of labor, as you never know until you try. But don't think that they all will fit. They won't.

  2. PS Molested = bothered in the latin root. Sometimes I forget that it usually isn't taken that way in English.

  3. Babies do breathe by the way, they just breathe water. The lungs start moving fluid in and out very early in gestation, usually by 19-20 weeks. They certainly can be in water after birth for a short period of time, but the process of placental separation will start to transition them to pulmonary circulation and require them to breathe air. A few seconds in water is fine, but don't overdo it!

    But the rest of the post is great!


  4. I think you are oversimplifying the case with African women a bit. They were born to mothers who were severely malnourished, then got pregnant themselves malnourished. These women have true cephalopelvic disproportion as well as multiple health problems that are contributing factors.

    The average, healthy American woman's body has not suffered from a life of malnutrition which alters the pelvic shape and structure.

  5. Ah, now I understand! My blog didn't send Dr. Fogelson's first comment to my inbox (for some reason it only sends select comments, not all), and I just now got Desiree's comments about African women - which made me think, "What did I write about African women? Ack!" Going back to the blog, I see that Dr. F wrote about big babies and fistula and that D. was responding to that.

    Good points on both sides, really. Most women can birth big babies, but necessary cesareans do save lives and prevent such conditions as fistula. Thanks for your comments, all!

  6. In regard to #6. Here in NJ there was a recent case of a mother's PARENTAL RIGHTS being TERMINATED for refusing a c sect. while it was being debated in the the hospital she gave birth vaginally to healthy baby. which was then taken away from the parents. only the mother has had her rights taken, the father still has custody and they are still fighting to get the mother's custody back.


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