{Postpartum} Birth Plan

Friday, November 13, 2015
Happy Friday friends. How are you? Things here are going well. I'm psyched that it's Friday! 

I had a minor bump in the road with running this week, which was kind of disappointing. 

On my last run I started to experienced some very uncomfortable contractions. My belly was fully contracting and they were extending down into my legs. Of coarse I stopped running, and walked the rest of the mile. When I returned to my in laws, I drank a lot of water, and sat outside with my husband, deep breathing and trying to relax my mind and body. 

It was a little disappointing because I'm 34 weeks along and I was hoping to run all the way until the big day...but the pregnant body is wise and it was trying to tell me something. I remember experiencing similar happenings around this time, with my last pregnancy. I tend to grow very low babies and they put a lot of pressure in my pelvis, hips and on my pelvic floor, earlier than usual. 

That's okay though. For the immediate time I've replaced runs with long walks, strength training, yoga and pilates. And you know what...all of those feel good and are still challenging!
Of coarse, at this size, rolling out of bed is challenging ;)

I'm really excited to share this prenatal yoga video, I've been doing, with you guys! It's a flow for strength and stability. It's a really awesome work for the pelvis and the pelvic floor, to get you ready for the changes of the third trimester, and for birth. I really like the teacher and her style. I especially love the attention she pays to preparing the muscles of the lower body, to have good strength for labor, and the postpartum healing process. 
The workout itself is perfect for the second and third trimester.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Preparing for Birth. You can find it here
I have had a number of questions about making a birth plan, what each of the options I talked about in that post meant, and why it was important to us. So, I decided to break down how we made our birth plan, into a series of posts to help other mama's out there prepare for their births as well.

The series will include:

Birth Plan: End of Pregnancy
Birth Plan: Labor
Birth Plan: Birth
Birth Plan: Postpartum

I left off last week talking about the Birth portion of the Birth Plan. This week we are discussing the different options we weighed for the Postpartum portion of our birth plan.

These options were unique for us this time around, because for my last birth, we focused so much on the labor and birth parts of our birth plan, that I didn't even realize how many questions are thrown at you postpartum!
As a doula, this is a topic I make sure to offer up to my clients for discussion, so they don't get bombarded with questions that they haven't have time to think about, immediately after giving birth.

This time around we are educated and we've discussed all of our options to determine what is best for us! And it feels empowering!

Immediate skin to skin
Once baby is born, you have the option to have the baby placed directly on your chest, for skin to skin contact. Or if you'd prefer, you can have the baby dried and cleaned up first. 

There are so many documented benefits to immediate skin to skin contact, that we  knew we wanted that. I can also say that for me, immediate skin to skin with Aria was the most natural feeling thing I have ever experienced. 

Cord Clamping/Cutting
The evidence behind delayed cord cutting suggests that delaying cutting of the cord until it stops pulsating, can be very beneficial to the infant. It gives the baby normal, healthy blood volume for life outside the womb. It offers baby a full count of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells, and helps baby to maintain positive iron stores. 

If you are planning to bank cord blood, and you are hoping to delay cord clamping, that may be a good discussion to have with your care provider. Research suggests that even if you choose to do cord blood banking, you can still delay cord clamping. However, I've had clients who's care providers did not offer delayed cord clamping, if they are cord blood banking, for various different reasons. I've also had clients who's care providers didn't believe in the benefits of delayed clamping, so it's always a good question to ask if it's something important to you.

Routine Pitocin
Once the baby is born most care providers give a small amount routine pitocin to help ensure safe delivery of the placenta. If you have an IV, it may be through the IV. If not, it may be in the form of a shot. I've also seen care providers give it in the form of a small tab that dissolves in mom's mouth. 

For my birth with Aria, I felt pretty upset when I found out that I was given pitocin without my consent. It's common practice in most birth places, and many mom's don't know they've received it. 
For this birth, I don't want any procedures done without my consent, so this was a question I asked my care providers early on. While, I'm not against being given pitocin after the baby is born, for the purpose of delivering the placenta and decreasing the likelihood of bleeding, I am against anything being done without my knowledge. 

Save Placenta
If you choose to save your placenta, most birth places require you fill out a release form. Some don't like to release the placenta, but most of the time you can work it out with your care provider. 

I wanted to make sure we could keep my placenta for encapsulation. I struggled with the dramatic shift in hormones after having Aria and I want to try placenta encapsulation, to attempt in helping with the shift. I've seen placenta encapsulation really ease new mothers emotions and hormones, a great deal. If there's anything I can do to help with that dramatic shift and the emotions that follow, I'm open to it.

 There are a number of other recorded benefits to placenta encapsulation. If this is something you're interested in learning more about, you can find a great deal of information for both sides, online. 

Routine tests and vaccinations
This was one area where PJ and I neglected to do much research last time. There are a couple of routine tests and vaccinations following baby's birth. Some you have the option to waive. Their requirements can vary with different birth places, so asking your care provider about the routine tests and vaccinations after baby is born, is a great question! And then doing your own research to see what they're all about and if they're important to you.

Some of those tests/vaccinations are:

Vitamin K - for blood clotting.
Erythromycin - to avoid transmitting chlamydia or gonorreah to baby, and in rare cases causing blindness
Hepatitus B Vaccine - to catch Hepatits B as early as possible. You can generally opt to do this with your pediatrician instead of in your birth place.
Circumcision - Some options for circumcision are: at your birth place, some pediatricians offer it, a mohel, or opting not to circumcise.
PKU screening - heel prick blood test to detect certain metabolic disorders that can be devastating to baby.

Bathing Baby
Within a few hours of baby's birth, the staff at your chosen birth place will offer to bathe your baby. Whether or not you choose to, is up to you. Some parent's choose to have baby bathed in those first 24 hours. Some wait a little longer than 24 hours, but do it before heading home. Some also choose not to bathe baby at all while in the hospital or birth center, and wait until they get home. 

When babies are born, their skin is extremely sensitive. To protect it, babies are born covered in a white waxy substance called vernix. While the vernix protects the sensitive skin, it also protects from infection when massaged into the skin, acts as a natural moisturizer, and can keep baby's temperature regulated. 

How long you want to wait to bathe baby is completely up to you. It may be a good thing to think about before baby comes, because you'll be asked in those first few hours, what you'd prefer. 

We won't be bathing the baby while we are in the birth center. Since we will be leaving the birth center within 12 hours of birth, her first bath will happen at home a few days after birth. I want to keep the protective vernix on her skin a little longer. 

Just a note: With any of these postpartum/newborn procedures you opt to do (aside from circumcision), you can request they be done in the room with you.  

Enjoy your Friday friends! We're off to the chiropractor and then trying to fight off this cold that's attempting to invade! Happy baby planning!

What was/is on your postpartum birth plan?

Is there anything you are doing different the second time around? 

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