3 Quick Tips for Writing your Birth Plan

writing your birth plan

Writing your birth plan can feel like a daunting task. You want to make it concise and straightforward while still including all the necessary pieces. Before you even get to that though, be sure you have a care provider who is supportive and open to birth plans. If you have mentioned a birth plan to your care provider already and you felt disparaged, run, don’t walk, to a new, supportive provider. Providers who feel that they are the final authority regarding your birth, have no place on your support team. You deserve better than that, you deserve to be heard and collaborated with, not brushed off or made to seem less than.

The preparation that goes into creating a birth plan involves researching common practices in your choice of birthing location and then teasing out those things that are most significant to you and what learning what the potential alternatives may be. By educating yourself about the birthing process and the choices you have, prior to being in the throes of labor, you are increasing your chances of having the birth you desire. You will feel empowered and confident on the day of your child’s birth because you have informed yourself and you’re not simply at the mercy of the professionals and protocols surrounding you.

Marsden Wagner, doctor and author of the book entitled Creating Your Birth Plan: The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth, dives deeply into the details one may want to include in a birth plan. This book is highly recommended for you if you’re preparing to sit down and get your birth plan on paper so you can present it to your provider. The purpose of this post is to outline some quick tips from the book on how to best present your wishes and increase the likelihood of you and your care provider aligned regarding these wishes.

Keep your Birth Plan Flexible
Make it known in your birth plan that you fully understand your list of desires are a wish list for your ideal outcome. While you do anticipate having a smooth labor and delivery and you do expect your provider to respect your wishes, you’re also not blind to the fact that the process is not totally predictable. Wording such as “Unless there is an emergency…” or “If circumstances allow…” relay this message clearly.

Be Brief
A one page birth plan is the goal, but no more than two pages maximum is best. This helps to ensure that everyone on your birth support team will be able to read over and recall what you have listed. If you have specific details that go beyond what is necessary for your care provider/nurses to know, it’s a good idea to have a longer version with those details for your partner, doula, or other advocate to familiarize themselves with so that they can be addressed as needed throughout the labor process. A bulleted birth plan is best, making it easier to read.  Full paragraphs can be daunting for busy L&D staff.

State your Plan in the Positive
Rather than presenting your birth plan as a list of things you do not want done, phrase things in the positive. Keeping your phrasing positive helps decrease resistance from caregivers. Try stating what it is you do desire followed by the intervention or procedure you’re hoping to avoid. For instance, “I wish for my perineum to remain uninjured in the labor process; however, if the situation arises, I prefer to tear naturally rather than have a surgical cut.”

These three basic guidelines should really help jump start the creation of your birth plan. Having solid parameters for how to present your birth plan so it meets the least resistance among your care team is a huge step in the direction of a desired labor and delivery. While many considerations remain as far as what exactly you may want to include in your personal plan, knowing how to get those ideas on paper is the first phase of drafting your birth plan. You’re encouraged to purchase or borrow a copy of Dr. Marsden Wagner’s book, Creating Your Birth Plan: The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth for a full and detailed process for creating your birth plan.

Why get Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy?

chiropractic care pregnancy

Pregnancy does a number on the body! From pushing organs up and out of the way to affecting
one’s posture to restricting full-range-of-motion. There’s no question that pregnancy can be the
root of discomfort. Thankfully, there is hope! Chiropractic care during pregnancy can help keep
the spine, pelvis, and hips healthfully aligned in order to prevent or put a stop to aches and
pains you may have believed to be unavoidable. It could even make for an easier labor.

The gold standard for chiropractic care during pregnancy is the Webster-technique, named after
Dr. Larry Webster who originated this technique that prioritizes pelvic alignment and has been
shown to improve pregnancy, labor, and delivery outcomes. When considering chiropractic for
your pregnancy, please look for a Webster-certified chiropractor. This particular method of
chiropractic has a variety of benefits.

Easing Common Pregnancy Discomforts
Many women deal with various discomforts or pain during pregnancy. Low-back-pain is very
common as is hip-discomfort. Pubic-symphysis-pain, which can at times be extremely
uncomfortable, is also seen frequently in pregnancy as the pubic bones shift to allow room for
baby. Chiropractic can help in reducing pain associated with pregnancy by assuring that all the
bones affected are kept well-aligned and by reducing or negating spinal pressure which, left
untreated, can lead to pain.

Smoother, Quicker Labor and Delivery
Regular chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy can lend to a smoother and quicker labor
and delivery. Through keeping your body in ideal alignment and in turn, helping baby into an
optimal position, labor and delivery are less likely to have complications. Chiropractic has even
been cited as helping move a breech baby into a head-down position. Chiropractic primes your
body to push baby down and out so you don’t expend unnecessary energy and time during
labor waiting for your body to make the adjustments needed to help baby out.

Improved Nervous System Function
Keeping one’s spine in alignment through regular chiropractic care helps to keep the nervous
system functioning properly and can improve overall health. Having improved nervous system
function allows the body to more readily adjust to all of the internal changes pregnancy causes
and can help to keep you more comfortable and physically healthier throughout pregnancy.

Recovery after Delivery
Chiropractic care shouldn’t be limited to pregnancy alone, it also works wonders at helping you
recover after delivery. By seeing a chiropractor shortly after delivering your baby, your body will
become realigned more quickly and you’ll feel better sooner. This is particularly helpful when
you have a new baby to care for and no time to deal with pain or discomfort.

If you’re dealing with discomfort during pregnancy or just simply looking to keep yourself healthy
and properly aligned while growing your baby, chiropractic is the way to go! Optimizing your
health and bodily-alignment during pregnancy benefits both you and baby Seek out your
nearest Webster-certified chiropractic provider and make that appointment today, you will be
thankful you did.

 

If you are in the San Antonio area, check out the San Antonio Birth Network for our preferred chiropractors.

It’s Worth Your Time

planning for birth

We all covet time. We often feel like there isn’t enough time in our day to get the important
things done and then the “extras” usually wind up ignored. “It’s all about prioritizing,” is what
we’re told and that tends to ring true. For instance, engaged couples, working without a wedding
planner, are estimated to spend 200-300 total hours planning their wedding!
For an event that generally lasts no more than 6 hours or so and takes place on a single day,
that is an immense amount of time to prioritize.

The question is, do people find it equally as important to spend time preparing and planning for
labor and delivery? And even if they did, would it make any difference in the end? One’s labor
and delivery can be a positive experience or a traumatic one. To avoid the latter, childbirth
education classes can go a long way. A recent study revealed that new mothers who had participated in a childbirth education class had a lower rate of vacuum extraction, a higher rate of normal vaginal delivery, and most notably, a significantly lower rate of cesarean section due to failed induction.

So now that you know taking a childbirth class can make a big impact, what kind of time will be
needed to participate in one? And why exactly is a class needed to prepare for a natural
biological process? You’re thinking, unlike a wedding, I have little control over the details of my
labor and delivery so what exactly am I planning for anyway? The truth of the matter is that the
absence of total control is exactly why preparing and planning for your birth is important.

A quality non-hospital-based childbirth education class, like Birth Boot Camp, generally lasts
around 10 weeks and meets a couple hours each of those weeks to prepare soon-to-be parents
for what to expect during labor and delivery. A variety of topics are touched on to familiarize
students with what is to come and to prepare them for an array of circumstances. Relaxation
techniques are taught and birthing options are presented and discussed. The broad spectrum of
potential interventions and labor experiences and what you want for your birth are discussed.
Other topics covered in class include pregnancy nutrition, choosing the most supportive
provider, newborn testing/procedures, breastfeeding, and more.

This ascertainment of knowledge coupled with the instructor’s trust in the biology of birth, are
tantamount in building your own confidence and trust in the birthing process. Setting oneself up
for success by prioritizing time for a childbirth education class has the potential to result in better outcomes for current pregnancies as well as less physical, and in turn, emotional trauma
during/after delivery. Each of these can act as predictors for outcomes in subsequent
pregnancies and often have emotional and physical effects that last far longer than baby’s birth-
day. It is well-worth your time to make a childbirth class a priority.

Before you Register for that Hospital Birthing Class…

hospital birth class

Congrats! You’re pregnant and excited to learn all the things about labor and delivery. You’ve done some preliminary research and you’ve decided that natural childbirth is your goal. Everything you’ve skimmed over and those birth stories you’ve read online have given you confidence. You are certain this is something you can and will do, at least in theory. However, you’re curious about how it will pan out at “go-time.” You need more information and more knowledge, but where will you go to get it? It’s likely that the hospital at which you’re planning your delivery offers its own childbirth class and that seems awfully convenient, but before you sign-up, know what you’re getting and what you’re not.

Not Enough Detail
Hospital childbirth classes approach childbirth education in a broad-stroke. Many different approaches to childbirth are discussed with no one method or option being given the necessary attention to truly convey the philosophies of each. The focus of a hospital childbirth class is not natural childbirth. It may be touched on, but there won’t be nearly enough information to make you feel prepared.

Class Size
Classes are usually fairly large which prohibits both individualized attention and ample time for student questions. With the majority of childbirth-class-attendees being first-timers, these two things are vital. Without the opportunity for the instructor to build rapport and for the students to ask pressing questions, the learning experience is severely lacking.

Class Duration
Not only does the class-size pose an issue, the amount of class-time is generally abbreviated and usually falls too close to your estimated-due-date. A class that meets once a week for four-weeks, beginning at the end of your third trimester, is not going to provide the amount of time necessary to get comfortable with and practice relaxation techniques and positioning recommendations.

Instructors Lack Training in Natural Childbirth
The instructors usually aren’t certified childbirth educators. Rather, they are labor and delivery nurses. Not to discount their extensive time assisting in childbirth, but having a role in hundreds of hospital-childbirths does not provide one with expertise in natural methods and techniques that a certified childbirth educator possesses.

Strong Focus on Hospital Procedures
Being that the class takes place in-hospital and that the instructors are employees of said hospital, these classes tend to do a good bit of training students on how to be “good patients.” There will be talk of protocols and procedures and an underlying or even outright discouragement of the patient’s autonomous decision-making. It’s much easier for the medical staff to have a compliant patient, one who doesn’t stray from the birth interventions that are all-too-common in our maternity wards.

Social Considerations
While it’s not your main goal to make other soon-to-be-parent-friends, private childbirth classes really lend themselves to this possibility due to their small class-size, longer duration of class, and like-minded classmates. With hospital classes missing these key aspects, making friends with others is harder to come by, and that’s a missed opportunity.

While it may be said that having a hospital childbirth class would be preferable to opting not to take a class at all, it’s definitely not the route recommended for someone interested in giving birth naturally, with minimal to no intervention. When your goal is natural childbirth, a supportive care team should be first priority while a solid natural childbirth class comes in as a close second.

New Childbirth Classes in San Antonio

birth classes baltimore

We have had the honor of providing Birth Boot Camp classes since 2014 and are so excited to be bringing this curriculum to the families of San Antonio. There are many reasons we love and use the Birth Boot Camp curriculum to prepare couples for an amazing birth. The materials are unmatched and the curriculum, which is updated with current statistics and research yearly, is the most modern and comprehensive we have found.

Since the program was launched in 2011, it has had amazing growth. Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes are now taught throughout the United Stated, as well as in Canada and Guam.  In addition to the comprehensive 10-week childbirth series, Birth Boot Camp now offers 5 additional classes to meet the different needs of birthing couples.

homebirth baltimore

 

 

Training Couples for an Amazing Out-of-Hospital Birth

This class gives you all the tools and information you need to know about the nuts and bolts of labor.  We will discuss the stages and variations of labor and tools to keep labor pain and discomfort at a minimum.  Waterbirth, labor positions, and relaxation techniques are also addressed. This 4-series class is $220 and includes a beautiful color workbook.

 

 

infant care class baltimore

 

 

Homecoming: Life with a New Recruit

Get parenthood off to a great start with this 2-series class.  Topics include: postpartum health, newborn procedures, babywearing, breastfeeding, and safe sleep.  This class includes a workbook and a 3.5 hour breastfeeding video download, which discusses feeding positions, common challenges, and pumping and returning to work.  The fee is  $115

 

 

food and fitness

 

Food & Fitness

Aside from preparation, staying low risk increases the likelihood of meeting your birth goals.  Join us for this 3 hour workshop to discuss how eating well and preparing your body can be the most effective way to remain low risk.  We will discuss nutrients that are crucial to a maternal diet as well as exercises and stretches to promote flexibility and stamina, giving you the most comfort during pregnancy and birth.  This class includes a workbook.  The fee is $95.

 

 

comfort measures class baltimore

Coping Strategies for an Amazing Birth

Explore tools and techniques to keep mom comfortable during labor, as well as a variety of labor positions and their benefits. Partners will leave this class with a deep understanding about how touch and intimacy can impact a person in labor. They will acquire skills and easy-to-use-tools to be able to effectively keep their laboring partner as comfortable and relaxed as possible in labor. We will conclude the class with discussion on the importance of relaxation in labor and a guided meditation exercise. Partners will approach their baby’s due date feeling confident in supporting their partner in labor and during birth. This class is offered monthly, comes with 2 workbooks. The fee is $95.

 

hospital birth Baltimore

 

Training for an Amazing Hospital Birth

Our hospital class is designed for the couple who wants more. More education. More fun. More relaxation and labor practice. More information on interventions, including medicated and cesarean births. They want to be able to make informed decisions as their birth unfolds. Workbook included. This class is typically taught over six 2 hour sessions costs. Fee: $250

 

 

We proudly provide our childbirth classes in Alamo Heights in San Antonio, TX.  To learn more about our classes or to see our class calendar, click here.

 

Is Placenta Encapsulation Safe for GBS+ Mothers?

placenta encapsulation and GBS

Is Placenta Encapsulation Safe?

Recently, The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) released an alarming single case report, in which a newborn was found to have a recurrent infection of group B Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS, group B strep), that was attributed to the mother’s consumption of placenta capsules. This has many people asking, ‘Is placenta encapsulation safe?’ We will navigate the findings of this case report, explore how this occurred, and discuss placenta encapsulation safety.

 

What are the findings of this case?

The CDC report discussed findings about a newborn who experienced a recurrent group B strep infection. GBS is a common bacterium, found in a person’s intestines or lower genital tract. Group B strep is present in about 25% of pregnant women, and is usually harmless. If transmitted to a newborn during birth, it can cause a rare but serious, illness known as group B strep infection. Because of this, it is standard practice for obstetricians and midwives to test expectant mothers for GBS, to determine if colonization is present. In this CDC report, the maternal GBS culture taken at 37 weeks was negative, meaning the mother’s lab test showed no colonization. Very shortly after birth, the newborn exhibited signs of an infection and lab results revealed the infant tested positive for group B strep. The infant was treated with antibiotics and hospitalized for about eleven days. Five days after the newborn’s release from the hospital, the baby again presented with GBS symptoms and tested positive for the same strain of group B strep. The baby was treated and was again released from the hospital after antibiotic therapy. At this point, it was discovered that the baby’s placenta had been encapsulated. The mother had been taking the placenta as capsules from three days postpartum. The capsules were tested and found to contain the same GBS strain that had infected the newborn. The mother’s breast milk was tested and did not contain group B strep, thus breastfeeding was ruled out as a potential source of reinfection. The authors of this report infer that ingestion of the GBS positive placenta capsules may have elevated maternal group B strep intestinal and skin colonization, facilitating transfer to the infant. The authors conclude by stating ‘placenta encapsulation process does not, per se, eradicate infectious pathogens; thus, placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided.’

 

So, How Did This Happen?

According to the report, the mother hired a company to pick up the placenta from her hospital and encapsulate it. The encapsulated placenta was returned to the mother three days later, and she began taking her capsules until it was suspected that they may be a source of group B strep. The encapsulator, who remained unnamed in the report, prepared the placenta from a raw state, dehydrating it at temperatures ranging from 115°F–160°F. According the CDC, heating at 130°F for 121 minutes is required to reduce bacteria present in placental tissue.

There are three problems with this case contributing to the placenta capsules testing positive for GBS, possibly re-infecting the newborn, and demonstrating unsafe processing practices.

 

The placenta was dehydrated from a raw state: This placenta was not heated to an adequate temperature, and possibly not for a long enough period of time to kill pathogens, like group B strep. Proper encapsulation protocols, require a specialist to steam the placenta, at 160°F, and then dehydrate it at 130°F for twelve hours. This method drastically reduces the occurrences of potentially harmful bacteria remaining present in the placenta. If the placenta referenced in this case was processed properly, it would almost certainly not have tested positive for group B strep.

 

Infection was present in baby: It is not a contraindication to encapsulate a placenta if a mother is found to have GBS. But if there is in an infection occurring in the infant or mother following birth, the placenta should absolutely not be encapsulated or consumed. Responsible and properly trained encapsulators will always inform their clients about any and all contradictions to placenta consumption.

 

The placenta was not processed in the client’s home: Another concern, is that this placenta was picked-up from the mother’s birth place and processed in a location other than her residence. It is impossible to know what type of preparation space the specialist worked in, if proper food safety protocols were followed, and if precautionary guidelines and decontamination practices for handling potentially infectious and biologically hazardous materials were utilized.

 

So, Is Placenta Encapsulation Safe?

A placenta from a normal, healthy infant and mother, when processed correctly is almost always safe to consume. With proper preparation, placenta encapsulation and consumption possesses almost no danger to a mother or baby.

 

Final Thoughts

Though startling, this report is only a single case study, and represents the findings and extrapolated assumptions of the authors. This is not an official CDC recommendation pertaining to placenta consumption. The report should serve as a caution for businesses offering encapsulation remedies and for families searching for placenta services. The Nurturing Root steadfastly believes that a placenta should ONLY be processed in a client’s home, using the traditional method, which steams the placenta first, to eradicate possible pathogens. It is crucial that you are able to witness the sanitation protocols implemented by your specialist, and know for certain, that the placenta being encapsulated is yours, it is processed correctly, and it is not contaminated by another source. We strongly encourage you to read this post, that lists six tips to consider before hiring a placenta encapsulation specialist. The Nurturing Root has encapsulated over 650 placentas, to date, with a 100% safety record and we have received only overwhelmingly positive reviews from our families. We believe in absolute transparency in the encapsulation process. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about the CDC report or placenta encapsulation safety. Ohio families contact us here, and Maryland families, here.

Pin It on Pinterest