Mamas on Bedrest:Unnecessary Medical Interventions in Labor and Delivery May be Putting Mothers, Babies at RiskJanuary 20th, 2015
I am happy to present to you a podcast interview with Carol Sakala, Director of Childbirth Connection Programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families. She has graciously stopped by today to share with us a landmark comprehensive report put out by Childbirth Connection and National Partnership for Women and Families called, The Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing and Its Implications for Women, Babies and Maternity Care. This report is unlike any other report on maternity care to date. Compiled by Dr. Sarah J. Buckley, the report is a review of over 1100 research papers and reports examining the best practices for maternity care and the best practices that protect and enhance the hormonal systems that are the most essential and influential in pregnancy and childbearing.
The report consists not only of the research and the evidence for each practice recommended, Childbirth Connection has also developed extensive patient and clinician resources that are available for free on the Childbirth Connection website. I am so grateful to Ms. Sakala for taking the time from her busy schedule, on a holiday, to explain the particulars of the report and to share some particular nuances that are beneficial to Mamas on Bedrest.
I apologize in advance for the recording. My microphone is more powerful than I thought picking up background noise from outside despite closed doors and windows. Deleting the noise caused some of the interview to be lost. So bear with the noise, in the beginning as the information is just too good to lose.
I hope that you have had a chance to listen to our podcast interview with Ms. Carol Sakala, Director of Chilbirth Connection Programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families. In this podcast, Ms. Sakala shares with us the latest comprehensive report put out by Childbirth Connection entitled Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies, and Maternity Care. This report outlines the hormonal physiology of pregnancy and childbirth and shows how many of the common interventions used during labor and delivery in the United States are not only detrimental to this delicate hormonal balance between mamas and babies, but potentially harmful to them both. They offer practice recommendations for clinicians as well as tips and tools for patients.
There are many documents that both patients and clinicians can download and print for free. These documents are available on the Childbirth Connection website. Below is a very informative infographic which shows the hormonal systems of pregnancy and how many of the common interventions used here in the United States are impairing those systems. It too is available for download and free for clinicians and patients to share. There is also an infographic with more detailed information for clinicians.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month. Spearheaded by the March of Dimes, perinatal organizations nationally and globally are sponsoring educational events and presentations to raise awareness of the issue of preterm labor and premature birth. As an industrialized nation, the United States fares poorly on the global scene when it comes to preterm births, earning a C grade on the global stage. This is one of the worst grades amongst industrialized nations. According to the March of Dimes, there are 450,000 babies born too soon annually in the United States. That is 1 out of every 9 babies!
There is much being done to reduce the number of babies being born too soon. American obstetricians and hospitals have revised their protocols so that there are fewer preterm labor inductions and fewer unnecessary cesarean sections. However, the large number of infants born prior to 39 weeks persists.
African American women have the highest rates of preterm labor and premature births in the US, ranging anywhere from 2-4 times the rate of preterm labor and preamature birth in white women. Researchers and public health officials are implementing some very targeted perinatal health care programs to address the disparities in access to care, affordability of care and the quality of care provided, especially as it pertains to lower income women who are on government subsidized health care plans . Two non-government organizations with whom Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond is partnered with are The Birthing Project USA and The National Perinatal Task Force. The Birthing Project pairs African American support volunteers “Sister Friends” with pregnant mamas to help them navigate the health care system, gain access to resources and to be a support and birth attendant if necessary. The success of this program comes from the fact that the less experienced mama has a direct resource to ask questions, seek assistance and who is often (but not required to be) present when mama delivers her baby. The National Perinatal Task Force is a group of perinatal health care workers who are dedicated to improving birth outcomes in African American Women and babies by being a very visible presence in the African American Community and providing information, resource referrals and support to mamas in need. Both programs provide African American women culturally sensitive care and support that has translated to improved birth outcomes.
The important key to reducing the rates of preterm labor and premature births is education. If you ask a cross section of pregnant women what are the signs and symptoms of preterm labor, many don’t know. This alone may account for many premature births. A woman experiencing intermittent contractions that are not particularly strong, or if she has an above average pain threshold, she may not recognize that she is in preterm labor. Other non specific symptoms such as diarrhea or back pain may be misconstrued as gastrointestinal upset or simply a normal ache from pregnancy respectively. Since it is imperative to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of preterm labor and to seek medical attention immediately (as preterm labor immediately addressed can often be stopped!), here are the most common signs and symptoms of preterm labor. Please make a note of these symptoms and contact your health care provider IMMEDIATELY if you are or have recently experienced any of these symptoms.
- Contractions (your belly tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
- Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from your vagina)
- Pelvic pressure—the feeling that your baby is pushing down
- Low, dull backache
- Cramps that feel like your period
- Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
Again, the March of Dimes has educational events taking place all this month throughout the United States. Check the March of Dimes Website for state chapter information as well as the calendar of events in your area.
Have other questions? Schedule a Complimentary 30 Minute Bedrest Breakthrough Session to find the solution! Schedule yours today!