Sunday, February 26, 2012

Parenting in Labor

The Decision to Use Pain Medication in Labor:

For most of us from the very beginning being a mother is hard. It requires you to give of yourself in ways you never dreamed possible. It requires you to make difficult decisions every day. We make these decisions on the best information we have at the time and what we judge as the best balance between our needs and our child's. At the end of the day we need to try to let go of mistakes we may have made and understand we are human and mothering is hard. 

Parenting begins in earnest once we are in labor. The more a woman can stay connected to her baby throughout the process the better she will be able to understand and accept what her body needs to do.

If you decide to use pain medication: "Even if medication becomes necessary later on in labor, the longer a mother can postpone it, the better it will be for the baby and for her and for their recovery afterward. Each hour without it is a step in the right direction." ~  "On Becoming a Family" by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. (pediatrician)

I love this quote because instead of feeling like a failure if a mom decides at some point in labor she needs pain medication she can focus on the hours she gave to her baby drug free. Mothers need to start mothering with as little guilt in their heart as possible. We will load ourselves down with guilt a plenty in the days, weeks and years of mothering to come.

Labor Pain Medications Affects:  Have you ever wondered how women were able to successfully breastfeed before there were lactation consultants? As much as I love our local lactation consultants and their passion for helping women and babies you need to understand why so many of your friends all needed professional help to achieve what should be a normal biologic function.

"The evidence that drugs given to relieve labor pain affect breastfeeding outcomes is rapidly accumulating." ~ 'The Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding' by Linda J. Smith & Mary Kroeger

"For breastfeeding to succeed, the baby must emerge from its internal gestation ready and able to feed, the mother must be able and willing to let her baby feed, and the stages of lactogenesis must proceed normally."  ~ Smith & Kroeger

For many years I have listened to anesthesiologist tell mothers not to worry because an epidural won't affect her baby, doesn't even reach her baby. I wish this were so but the uncomfortable truth is that this has been disproved in studies starting back in 1995.

"The route of administration-local, IV, or injected into the epidural space-has less influence on drug transfer to the fetus/infant than previously thought. IV drugs quickly enter the infant blood stream via placental profusion. Local injections also reach maternal circulation in a matter of seconds and are detectable in the newborn's urine at high levels. Injections into the epidural space are quickly detectable in cord blood." 'Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding'

Did you know that what goes into an epidural are the same drugs that go into an IV for labor pain relief? The only difference is where they are putting it in your body. For you it feels profoundly different but not so much for your baby.

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