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 am always so thrilled to get an e-mail that has a beautiful cherubic face of a newborn from a Mama on Bedrest. You mamas (and dads) rock! But with all that you have gone through with your pregnancy, labor and delivery, have you ever considered taking a little post partum vacation? They are called “BabyMoons”. But we all know that such a “pre-baby” vacation is impossible for Mamas on Bedrest. So I called representative for the California Association of Boutique Bed and Breakfast Inns and asked, “Well, do you offer similiar packages for new mamas and dads which will accommodate newborns? The answer, a resounding YES!
Now to be fair, the term “BabyMoon” actually refers to a vacation an expecting couple takes before the birth of their wee one. Coined by the California Association of Boutique Bed and Breakfast Inns, BabyMoons are designed to provide (one last) escape for expecting couples before the baby arrives. The destinations offer couples’ massages by prenatal-certified massage therapists (for mamas) and an array of “babymoon” package indulgences.
Mamas, these places are spectacular!!! Dotted along the California coast, they span from Sonoma all the way down to San Diego! The inns are the height of luxury and just what weary “Former” Mamas on Bedrest and The Dads who love them need after months on bed rest. Imagine beautiful accommodations overlooking the ocean. Firepits to sit by and watch the sunset. Massages by certified perinatal massage therapists to soothe and smoothe all those aches and pains from the weeks on bed rest. Sumptuous meals and a calming atmosphere are just what Mamas and Dads need-in addition to relaxing time to bond with their little one.
Participating properties are listed below with links to the sites with descriptions and pricing. I truly hope that some of you have the opportunity to relax in such luxury after all you have done to birth your little ones!
Timber Cove Inn (Baby Moon Retreat is the Second Special listed)
Mount View Hotel & Spa (Oh Baby! BabyMoon for 2 is the last special listed)
Old Monterey Inn (BabyMoon Getaway is fourth special down)
Does this type of post partum vacation appeal to you? share your thoughts in the comments section below. I wanted to know more about these getaways, so I have put in a request for an interview. We’ll podcast as soon as there is a response and acceptance!
Once again I had the opportunity to educate someone about bed rest and bed rest support. I was speaking with a woman and she asked me what I did. I explained that I support high risk pregnant women on prescribed bed rest. Like most people who have never intimately known a pregnant woman who has had to go on bed rest, she responded glibly,
“What’s so hard about that? I’d love to be home in bed!”
I know that I am speaking to the choir here, but bed rest is anything but restful! Pregnancy bed rest is long, hard, stressful work. Women prescribed bed rest during their pregnancies are fraught with fear and anxiety for themselves and their babies.
Let’s look at the facts. Some 750,000 American women annually are prescribed bed rest for a portion of their pregnancies. The intention of bed rest is to prolong the pregnancy so that delivery occurs as close to 39 weeks as possible. There are many reasons for the bed rest prescription including, cervical insufficiency (short cervix), pre-eclampsia, preterm labor, placenta previa, intrauterine growth retardation, gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, multiples(twins or more) and others. While some women have medical history that may predispose them to preterm labor, the vast majority of mamas prescribed bed rest have no readily identifiable medical history that would indicate they’d experience complications during pregnancy. Likewise, most mamas have done nothing to bring about the complications they experience. In a nutsell, pregnancy complications just happen.
This is extremely frustrating for mamas who want answers. Why is this happening? What is wrong with her body? What could have been done to prevent the complication and the ensuing bed rest? What can a mama do now to make the situation better? Will this particular complication or others occur with subsequent pregnancies? Is a mama “once a Mama on Bedrest always a Mama on Bedrest?” These questions raise a mama’s anxiety, something that we don’t want at this very important juncture in her pregnancy.
Maternal Fetal medicine is great at monitoring the health and well being of mamas and babies experiencing complications during pregnancy. Historically, hospitals and physicians were not as good at managing the emotional or “soft side” of complicated pregnancies; i.e. the emotional strain, the stress on the family dynamics, the financial woes and other “psychosocial” aspects of bed rest. Increasingly, hospitals and health care professionals are taking pyschosocial issues into consideration when managing Mamas on Bedrest, but there is still much work to be done. And while the March of Dimes is on the forefront of addressing the emotional and behavioral needs of Mamas on Bedrest in the Hospital, Mamas on Bedrest at home and the needs of their families continue to be set aside. In our very mobile world, Mamas on Bedrest seldom live near family and often don’t have a strong community support system. This further increases mama’s stress and anxiety and potentially puts her health and the health of her unborn baby at risk. It is no small matter when a Mama on Bedrest is concerned about her existing child’s safety coming home from school gets up to retrieve the child because she has no one to meet and escort the child for her. Some will judge her harshly, stating that she is putting the life of her unborn child at risk. But what of the health and well being of her existing child? What mother can choose?
Husbands of Mamas on Bedrest often take on (or try to take on) the work of their spouses in addition to their full time jobs. While this is admirable, it is often not optimal and can result in stress and strain within the family and for the couple.
Then there is the emotional strain which often manifests in depression. Depression is never good for a pregnant mama-on bed rest or not-and providing support and comfort is essential.
So yes, Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond provides “soft support” to Mamas on Bedrest. We don’t provide medical care or advice. We don’t really focus on Mama’s physical health at all, leaving that to licensed health care professionals. We help mama navigate bed rest emotionally, offer tools and tips to help Mama and her family nagivate bed rest and provide Mamas on Bedrest with a community of people, other mamas, who know exactly what she is going through! Soft support? Maybe. Substantial support? Absolutely!