Midwife chat

January 20, 2020

Home Birth – What you should know about safety and choice

Choice of Birthplace. Home birth. Nothing else about midwifery care stirs more emotion than home birth. For some people, the response is very positive. But for many pregnant people, their partners, family, friends, co-workers, other health care providers, cashiers, hair dressers and the dog walker, the knee jerk reaction to the idea of home birth is shock. 

It is sad but not surprising, given that the vast majority of people in North America give birth in a hospital. People (for good reason) trust that we have an excellent medical system and that hospital birth provides experts and resources to keep people safe during the birth process. It is unfortunate, however, that people do not dig just a little deeper and consider that there may be other – equally safe – options.

5987_507319412651674_56556903_n

I won’t try to cover every aspect of choice of birth place in this blog post. If you have a midwife, you will have lots of time and opportunity to delve deep and make a decision that is right for you. I only hope to provide a very brief overview of why one might consider a home or birth centre birth and encourage you to keep an open mind.

What does the research say about the safety of home birth?

We are lucky that there is good research from Canada and other places in the world where midwives are well integrated into the health care system. The research consistently shows that midwifery clients who plan a home birth are well screened for potential risks and complications and have outcomes that are just as safe as those who plan to give birth in the hospital – but, they have lower rates of interventions and complications.

What does this really mean? It means that there are no more deaths or disabilities resulting from planned home birth compared to planned hospital birth in a setting like Ontario. It means that low risk people who plan a home birth are less likely to experience a cesarean section, episiotomy, significant tearing and abnormal bleeding. 

It is important to note that if you are at low risk when you go into labour then serious complications are rare regardless of where you choose to give birth and regardless of whether you have a midwife, family doctor or obstetrician. Giving birth in an Ontario hospital, birth centre or at home are all safe options. If you are interested in looking specifically at the research outcomes, check out the Association of Ontario Midwives Choice of Birthplace: Guideline for Discussing Choice of Birthplace with Clients. The document is written for midwives. It is heavy on statistics. But the recommendations are a clear and helpful summary of the research. It also includes a list of 39 references.

The safest place to plan a birth depends on you and your circumstances. Are you low risk? Do you have access to a skilled midwife? Can you travel safely to a hospital in labour? Does your local hospital provide maternity care? Do you have a history of really fast births? What are the road conditions? Where do you feel safe? Speak to your midwife to discuss all of the many variables that impact your safety.

Continue Reading

January 20, 2020

5 tips to reduce risk and increase the health of your pregnancy

Everyone wants to know what they can do to keep themselves and their baby safe during pregnancy. Most things our out of our control. But here are 5 actionable tips to reduce risk and increase the health of your pregnancy. 

Untitled design (3)1. Eat good food: You are building your baby from what is already in your body and what you put into your body. Eating foods that look like they did when they were still growing is a great way to ensure that you are eating healthy foods. For example, a chicken breast looks a lot like it did when it was still in the chicken. Hot dogs though? Not so much. If 80% of your food looks like it did when it was growing, or if your great grandmother could list the ingredients just by looking at it, then you are doing well. Check out The Foodie’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Eating for Two, and You are what you eat.

2. Move your body: Exercise and activity in pregnancy reduce your chances of gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain and muscular and joint pain. One of the most important things you can do during your labour to improve your outcomes is to move! If you have been active during your pregnancy and if your body is comfortable moving and adopting lots of different positions then you are ahead of the game. Learn more about safe exercise in pregnancy by reading Is it safe to life heavy things or exercise in pregnancy?

3. Choose your care provider wisely: Make sure that the care provider that you choose has a similar philosophy to you. Not all midwives are low intervention and not all obstetricians are high intervention. Don’t assume. Get them talking. And be sure to find out where your care provider has privileges to practice. Check out the policies, procedures and statistics of that institution. Read 5 things you need to ask your care provider once you’ve peed on that stick.

4. Develop a strategy to ignore unsolicited advice: Everybody has an opinion when it comes to pregnancy and birth. You may have some trusted advisers in your life who are important support people. And that’s great! But keep in mind that best practice changes over time. What your mother, or aunt, or neighbour was told when they had babies may no longer be valid. Maybe double check. And it seems that even random people who would generally never think of commenting on your health or personal life feel comfortable inquiring and commenting when you are pregnant. Have a plan to politely ignore advice, scary stories and opinions that undermine your confidence.

5. Ask questions and make decisions: Pregnancy and birth are normal physiological processes. Most of the time things are going to turn out no matter what you choose. There is no one right way to approach your care.  Make sure that you understand the rationale behind any recommendations given to you. Make sure that those recommendations make sense to you and that they will help you to have the type of experience and outcome that you want. Ultimately, understanding what is happening to you and why and having your decisions respected goes a long way toward ensuring you feel healthy and whole. Shoot for informed choice. Not sure how to achieve informed choice? We can help. We’ve written a free guide to help you get all the information you want and need to make informed decisions about your health care. 

Continue Reading

January 20, 2020

Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks

Are You thinking of breast/chest feeding your baby?*

Is your head pounding from all the breastfeeding advice from friends, family and coworkers?

Take a deep breath and relax… 🤗

In this video, our own registered midwife, Heather, gives us a detailed look at Public Health Canada’s brochure 10 Valuable Tips for Successful Breastfeeding. The tips she covers are SO valuable for any person planning to breastfeed for the first time, or even someone who has already breastfed and is planning to do so again. Click here if you would like us to send you the Health Canada booklet.

 Hey parents to be! Ya, You! It starts at birth!

Seriously! It starts right away!

Heather walks us through scenarios like “breast crawl” (yes, this is a real thing!), the natural feeding triggers a baby will exhibit, and tips for latching the baby properly. 

  • Getting started, do you know how big your babies tummy is the first few days?
  • How to figure out your baby’s feeding time and signs the baby is getting enough milk?

Yes, we parents ALL worry if our babies are eating enough!

What about caring for yourself?

Self care, postpartum & sleep, and nipple cracking prevention are all covered. You may very well be surprised with some of the information! Common concerns like returning to work and still being able to breastfeed are discussed with some added tips for expressing milk and pumping. Because good news, YOU CAN return to work and your baby still continue drinking your milk!

ARE YOU CURIOUS YET?!

Heather takes the worry and concern away from nursing and shows us that it’s an exciting and healthy method to feed and bond with your bundle of joy.

Sit back, relax and enjoy her detailed tips and tricks to breastfeeding your baby!

 

 

Continue Reading