Overdue

The clinical definition of overdue pregnancy is anything over 42 gestational weeks. Kind of sounds like a long time, when put that way.

In pregnancy, they ‘estimate’ your due date from your last menstral period. I have a post all about ovulation, conception, and pregnancy, if you want to check it out here.

Pregnancy is 40 weeks from your LMP. And if you are regular and ovulate every cycle on day 14, that’s great! If not, you might be over the due date or under the due date.

This idea of a due date was founded in the 1800s by a doctor in France, and even though it has been misproven hundreds of times, we still use it to calculate a due date.

As that date approaches, you may get more and more excited. And to see that date cruise by without even a thin piece of thinning of your cervix, that has to be hard. But, if your due date was off, even by just a few days?

Once you are at 41 weeks, your doctor may closely monitor you to see if the baby is ok. You may be asked to come in for ‘stress’ tests regularly to see if the baby is still having a beating heart, you may have daily cervical checks (I think this one is bogus, but to some doctors…), and you may have daily or every couple of day ultrasounds to check the fluid and the placenta.

A lot of people say that if you go past 7 days past 40 weeks, your baby will be too big for you to push out. To this, I just laugh and wonder who taught them their birth facts.

There is an ‘increased’ risk of meconium inhalation. Which happens if your baby is stressed, so they empty their bowels in the womb. My only thing with this is that one of my friend’s babies had meconium and it was 2 weeks early. It just happens, regardless of how long it has gestated. I think this is one of the ‘fear’ factors people tell you.

There is a risk of placental aging, since the placenta isn’t meant to function forever. But, you can have blood tests done to see if the baby is still growing and the placenta is still functioning. It doesn’t just all the sudden stop on week 42 of pregnancy, so please don’t think that.

Most women now are induced by 41 weeks. Rarely do they let you go longer. It is really sad.

Even if you have a regular cycle, the one month you got pregnant might have been different. Trust your body. Your baby is in there for a reason. It is growing and getting ready to be born, and if you are induced, even at 42 weeks, you might have a premature baby.

Weight the facts, as I always say. If you want a natural birth, then TRUST YOUR BODY!

Advertisements

Fetal Fibronectin Test

Early labor can be terrifying. You wonder if it is just practice contractions, or if your baby or babies are really coming. And if they are really early, that can be awful, just wondering if everything will be okay.

One of my best friends asked me if I had ever heard of the Fetal Fibronectin Test. I had heard a few things, but I didn’t hear enough to warrent researching it. But, since she brought it up, I figured it was a pretty neat topic and set out to research right away.

There are a lot of articles on it. And, it is a really cool test, especially if you are experiencing labor symptoms and it is before 34 weeks.

fFN can’t tell you for sure if you are in labor, but it can tell you for sure if you aren’t. I know that saying is kind of vague, but let me explain a little more.

This test is useful, since it is hard to tell if a woman is truly in preterm labor based on symptoms and a pelvic exam.

A negative result means it is highly unlikely to give birth in the next week or two, so your caregiver can hold off on treatments that are unnecessary. These treatments include meds that stall preterm labor, antibiotics for group B strep, corticosteroids (to mature lungs of baby). These medicines are great if you are in early labor, but if you aren’t, you may not be able to take them again when you are truly in labor. A negative also helps you avoid or postpone bedrest or hospitalization, neither of which is very effective at preventing preterm birth and labor, but it is still recommended.

A positive result is not as useful. It means you are at a higher risk to have a preterm labor, but it doesn’t mean you will, so treatments may be done that aren’t necessary.

If you are having symptoms of preterm labor, in addition to this test, your doctor may order an ultrasound to see if your cervix is thinggin, which is what happens during labor.

This test is done at your caregiver’s office:
-Inserts speculum
-Takes samples of cervical and vaginal secretions
-This is pretty much the same feeling as during a pap smear.
NOTE: If you have had sex or used lubricants in the 24 hours before the test, please let your caregiver know. It can give a false positive, and that is never good.
-The lab analyzes the sample and measure the amount of fetal fibronectin (fFN).
= this is a protein that serves as a ‘glue’. It attaches the fetal sac to the uterine lining.
= found in small amounts between 22-34 weeks, since it is not disintegrating
= if larger amounts are found, it may mean that the glue is disintegrating ahead of schedule because of contractions or an injury to the membranes.
= if this happens, risk of premature labor is more likely

WHO SHOULD TEST:
Anyone who is having symptoms of labor before 34 weeks should go in and get the test done
Some doctors say that all high risk patients should do it, but it is not proven to help at all, since it isn’t very accurate if you get a positive result.
If you get a negative, but still experience symptoms, some doctors will test every two weeks until 34 weeks just to make sure.

The results tell you
-if you are having symptoms:
Regularly, there is a 4% chance of delivering within two weeks. A negative results shows that you have a 1% chance of delivering. If you get a positive, the risk is increased of pre-35 weeks labor to 16% in the next 2 weeks.
-if you are NOT having symptoms:
If you have had a previous preterm birth, but no symptoms in this pregnancy, you can test, but less useful results are found if you are not having symptoms. IE: If it is positive, you won’t be treated since you aren’t in labor yet. In general, high-risk women without symptoms have a 1 in 3 chance of delivery before 37 weeks.
Among women with previous preterm birth, but no symptoms, fewer than 10% with negative test result at 24 will go on to deliver before 35 weeks, compared with 60% of women with a positive result.

—————————————-
The research on this is pretty shaky. If you get a negative result, that’s completely certain. But if you get a positive, you may be worrying and on bed rest for weeks and you wouldn’t have gone into labor in the first place.
It is a lot of unnecessary worrying that a pregnant woman shouldn’t have to do, especially if she wasn’t in labor to begin with.
But on the other hand, if she is in labor or at a more increased risk because she is about to start labor, treatments are the best option.
I think the best thing you can do is to trust your body. Stay healthy, exercise (if your doctor says it’s ok), get lots of rest, drink lots of fluids, and try to stay positive. With all the advances in medicine, a baby can survive if born as early as 21 weeks. It isn’t the ideal, but it happens.
And, although I am not that positive about doctors and such, trust your caregiver. Early labor is scary. So many things can go wrong, and their insight is invaluable. Listen to their advice, and research things for yourself just to double check.
Every woman is different. I have heard of a woman pregnant with triplets that went overdue. And people carrying just one baby go really early. You never know what is going to happen, but is having an unnecessary procedure that might not tell you anything but give more worry truly worth it?

Pregnant Bellies!!!

I have always been fascinated with pregnant bellies. Even when I was a kid. They were just so amazing to me! (Crazy I didn’t find my calling in birth till last year….)
I always wanted a cute belly, and I never showed very much, and I forgot to take pictures of my belly, but luckily one of my friends took pictures of hers so I can show her off haha.
Sooooooo, I decided to put together a little montage of cute and interesting baby bellies!! Yay babies!!!
Enjoy the show!!
Brenda and Rebecka

Brenda and Rebecka (It was so cute when Brenda finally popped out this little belly right before Rebecka came out)

Ooh, scandalous

Brenda’s Sister Kristina with her 2nd child, a little boy

Kristina with her oldest and her belly

The three sisters

It is just so vibrant!

How cute is this?!

I love the belly comparing pictures

I love the flowers and the bellies.

Christina Aguilera actually had a pretty cute belly, airbrushed or not

And the crux of all bellies… can you believe there are 8 in there?!?!

Pregnancy Myths

This was just one of those random things I came across I felt that I should share.

Hope you enjoy!!

Stalled Labor

I found this on one of the blogs I read, and I thought this was really interesting.

In the hospital, you have to dialate at 1 cm every hour at a consistant rate, or you are taken for a cesarean for failure to dialate. My thoughts have always been that all women are different.

This is the first doctor I have actually heard that says that women might need more time.

<a href="“>

Natural Vs Medical

Lately, a lot of birth stuff has been going through my mind. And the one thing that kept coming back was “Why do women have the births they do?” And this led to “Why do I think the way I do about birth?” And finally “Is there really a difference in the ‘type’ of birth you have?”

There is a lot of debate about going medical for a birth and going natural. In all my research, I am definitely on one side of the spectrum. I do believe that medicine is there if something goes wrong, but if it doesn’t? Is it truly needed if everything runs smoothly and your body does what it was meant to do?

I decided to seperate everything into catagories, and analyze them haha.

Medically:

Induction of labor – This can be used when there are complications with a pregnancy, but not enough to warrent a cesarean section. The labor is augmented with pitocin, and is administered intraveniously and the dosage can be turned up or down depending on the result (aka, the contractions). They sometimes schedule these for convenience, which I think is total crap, but it’s what some women want. They also schedule these if a baby gets too large, but 98% of babies will not be too large to deliver if a woman gets in the right positions. 2% of women have something that actually makes the pelvis smaller, which is true CPD. In these, having a vaginal birth is not possible. I have a post on it here.

Episiotomies -This is a cut that is performed to prevent tearing. This is still pretty much split down the middle as to whether it’s better or not. In most of the research I have done, I have found a couple interesting facts. Torn skin heals faster and heals stronger than cut skin. It tears on a seam, so once it comes back together, your skin is able to fuse back to how it was and actually have a stronger seam than before. Episiotomies are better for doctors to sew though, if stitches are needed, which they always are with an episiotomy. And if you use upright positions, like squatting and such, to birth in, your pelvis is 30% bigger and your perinium isn’t squished, so it is more likely to fan out when the baby passes through. Flat on your back, you are more likely to tear, and this is why episiotomies are done. One more thing I found was that with natural tears, 4th degree tears are less likely than if you get an episiotomy. Episiotomies can rip more than the doctor cuts, which makes the 4th degree much more probable. I have a post on this here.

Cesarean Sections -If these are truly needed, that is fantastic that we have them. If not, they can cause more problems than benefits. There is a longer healing time, bleeding, prematurity, nicking of organs, and even death. It is MAJOR surgery. It’s not like getting an ingrown toenail removed. They are cutting open your abdomin and pulling your baby out through the hole. I have a post on this here.

Epidurals – This offers a ‘pain free’ labor and delivery. The side effects are shaking, itching, headache, paralization, nerve damage, etc. It does pass over the placenta, so your baby is getting the same drugs you are. It slows labor, so you are more likely to receive augmentation. You lie on a bed, unable to move around, so when it is time to deliver, the baby may not have gotten in a good position, and it is harder to push the baby out, and forceps and vacuums are used more often. They are really great if you are getting tired and need to rest, but weigh the risks and benefits yourself before assuming they are completely safe. I have a post on all the risks and benefits here.

Natural:

You prepare yourself for your pregnancy and delivery the entire time. You trust your body to do what it is meant to do. THere are no interventions, unless medically necessary. You don’t receive pain medication. Instead, you use coping that you learned and practiced during your pregnancy. You create an experience where you get more support, encouragement, and attention. You have people at your birth that support your decisions and your birth plan.

You believe that labor is only painful if you are tense. If you can relax and work through contractions, and be able to move around, you can actually have a ‘pain free’ labor.

In labor, when you are relaxed and supported, endorphins are released when you experience pain, and these take the pain away. They leave you with a happy feeling, and the pain is not noticeable. The endorphins help labor go faster and have contractions that open the cervix more.

If you fear, adrenaline is released. This is used during a ‘fight or flight’ reflex actions. THis slows down labor and can actually make it stop. This is one of the reasons that a woman may be in active labor, but the minute she gets to the hospital, her labor stops, so she needs to be augmented with pitocin.

You can use herbal remedies for labor, but if you want something to help you through, great support is the best option (here is my doula plug haha).

My biggest thing for having a natural birth is that you go nine months keeping medicines out of your body. You are careful what you put in, just in case your baby may react to it. Why is it that you can put all sorts of drugs into your system when you are hours from having your baby without even a second thought? Is it truly any different from the drugs you keep away from during your pregnancy? Sure, they are tested to be safe, but technically, none of them have been around long enough for the long term effects to be tested. So, why introduce your baby to drugs when you are so close to seeing them, when for 9 months you don’t want them to get hurt?

————————–
This issue is so debatable. You have people completely staunch on either side of the spectrum. You rarely hear anyone in the middle.
I am all for medicine. We are living longer, we are healthier, and our lives are better. But, at what point does medicine become too much and we need to step back? When the cesarean rate is at 50%? 60%? When no one has a natural birth anymore? When midwives are completely outlawed?
How do we know when medicine has been taken too far, and we won’t be able to find our way back to a ‘safer’ birth for mother and baby? Will we be able to go back and start again, or will it be too late?
And there I go with the questions again haha.

Repeat Cesareans vs. VBAC

In Time Magazine, there was an article written by Pamela Paul titled ‘The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans’, which you can view here.

The writer had to drive 100 miles for a VBAC friendly hospital, when she was having her second baby. It was amazing that she did that!

90% of second pregnancies are repeats instead of VBACs. There is still kind of a stigma of “once a cesarean, always a cesarean.

ICAN polled 2850 hospitals, and the results were:
– 28% of hospitals won’t do VBAC.
-21% of hospitals have de facto bans: They are ok with VBACs, but no doctors in the hospital will perform htem.
That is 1% less than half the hospitals in the country. Those odds really suck.

And the strange thing is, with a VBAC, you heal faster, and it cost way less! I can understand why hospitals don’t want them, because they don’t make as much money, but why wouldn’t people paying for insurance and such not want to have to pay less?

The risk of uterine rupture is real, but it is now just 0.7% in natural spontaneous labor, that is not augmented and the mother is able to move around. That is absolutely nothing!! And, you can think of it more as you have a 99.3% of NOT rupturing. I like that number a lot better.

In 1996, 28% of second pregnancies were VBACs. The gov’t proposed a target of 37% by 2010. In 2006, the VBAC rate was 8%. Kind of going the WAY opposite direction, in my opinion. And this is even though 73% of women could have a successful VBAC.

In the 1990s, they would augment VBACs with cytotec (generic of misoprostol), which caused hundred of ruptures, and lots of dead babies, so hospitals changed their stance on VBACs, even after the drugs were found to cause the problems and the use of them was stopped. Doesn’t make sense to me, but I guess if you’re in the business to make money…

Dr. Shelley Binkley, who stopped offering VBAC in 2003, says, “It’s a number’s thing. You don’t get sued for doing a c-section. You get sued for not doing a c-section.”

How sad is that people don’t sue their doctor for doing unnecessary surgery, but sue them if forceps have to be used in labor?

With each repeat cesarean, the risk of heavy bleeding, infection, and infertility goes up. The risk of life threatening placental abnormalities that cause hemorrhaging during childbirth also goes up.

In 2005, 57% of c-section veterans who gave birth wanted a VBAC, but were denied. How can someone deny a ‘treatment’ option to someone and replace it with a more risky procedure?

The Zelop of the ACOG states, “When the problems with multiple c-sections start to mount, we’re going to look back and say, ‘Oh, does anyone still know how to do a VBAC?'”

It is so true. With a little less than half of the hospitals in our country not doing VBAC, and medical schools not teaching it anymore, what will happen when more problems occur because of them and no one knows how to fix it?

I found a website that stated all the risks of repeat cesareans. I was going to write them all down here, but the list is long, so I figured I would just post the link.

The website is vbacfacts.com, but the specific link is here. If you are thinking about a repeat cesarean or a vbac, I would look up all the information you can.

Women die from repeat cesareans. Rarely, if ever do women die from a VBAC. Make sure you get your facts before making a giant choice, especially one that could impact your life and your unborn babies life.

If you would like more facts on VBAC, or just support in your decision, please go here. It’s ICAN, a group for women who want VBACs, who have had VBACs and women who just would like to learn their options.