In the Midst of the Storm is NOT the Time to Learn!

stormImagine this scene, the mom is in early labor and has back pain. She is unaware of what may be causing it and even more what to do about it. Her contractions are irregular but she is having a good deal of pain with each one. What do she and her partner do? They head into the hospital and get an epidural even though it is very early in labor. And in doing so she is kept more or less on her back and her baby who was posterior gets jammed into the pelvis in that malposition. What happens next? Often times she has a cesarean birth. What if she knew how to realign the baby? Could she have avoided a cesarean birth?

Imagine this scene, the mom is in early labor and the contractions are very irregular. She is unsure what to do. She calls her care provider who suggests she stay home for a while longer. But she and her partner are fearful and head into the hospital instead. Once there the provider suggests Pitocin to regulate the labor. And soon the baby is over stressed. And the mom gets an epidural due to the pain from the augmentation. What happens next? Often a cesarean happens. Was the mom even in labor? Could a liter of water for dehydration have  curtailed the irregular pattern? Could helping the baby turn into a more favorable position have helped? Would a nice soak in the tub be helpful in her being able to cope?

The mistake most often made by a couple is going to the hospital too soon. And the second mistake is staying at the hospital after they find out they are not in active labor. The studies show if you go to the hospital and are 3cm or less, you increase your chance of cesarean by 50% if you stay! Don’t go until you are working hard. Don’t go until your contractions are regular and strong. But often couples do not take a childbirth class. Or they take a hospital based class where they suggest going to the hospital at 611- contractions six minute apart lasting a minute for a full hour. That is a great time to go if you plan to get an epidural, but not if you are looking for a non interventive birth!

Pain coping skills should not be being learned in labor. Knowing how to gently realign a baby or move labor along should be something you have knowledge of before you go into labor. Know things to do in early labor to be able to rest for when labor kicks in harder. Take a good childbirth preparation class please. Don’t expect your doula or midwife or nurse to teach you while in labor.

Imagine this scene. The mom has had a long labor and finally the baby is placed on her chest. She has been laboring for more than a day. She is tired and did not take a breastfeeding class to help her be knowledgeable. She has a baby ready to nurse and has no clue as to how to help her baby latch on. She is at the mercy of learning techniques while being very sleep deprived. She did not think it was important to attend La Leche League meetings prior to the birth. She thought the nurses would be knowledgeable and be able to help her. But she is getting conflicting advice and has very sore nipples. She received 2 hours or more of IV fluid in labor, causing her baby’s weight to be inflated. But she did not know that. So when she is told her baby has lost too much weight, she is encouraged to use supplementation. She is given a nipple shield to protect her nipple, not knowing the problems that can occur from doing so. She is soon supplementing more and within weeks is breastfeeding vvery little or even at all. A breastfeeding support group or class could have helped these problems be avoided.

Imagine this scene. A couple has their baby and soon the the baby nurse is in to do the protocol procedures on the baby. She asked if she can give the Vitamin K shot in the thigh, Erythromycin in the eyes and the Hepatitis B injection. She offers to bathe the baby as well. The parents have no idea what these procedures are for and why they are done.  Will this cause any issues? Without knowing the facts on these procedures the couple is not making an informed decision and understanding the benefits and risks of doing so. A good class would help them to be fully involved in the decision making of their child.

So rethink the value of learning the things that can make a difference in your birth and soon after. Please don’t try to learn things in the midst of the storm.