Week 34: Time to think about having fully informed conversations with your doctor or midwife about what kinds of medical interventions are routinely used at your place of birth.
Braxton Hicks contractions are more noticeable and more numerous as your uterus continues to strengthen for labor.
Don't feel pressure to accept medical interventions for routine reasons. Most labors will progress normally with little or no medical intervention at all. When the offer of a test, procedure or medical tool comes up, be sure you ask these questions: 1) What is the problem we are trying to fix? 2) What are the benefits of the test/treatment/tool? 3) What are the risks or side effects? 4) What are the chances it will work? 5) If it doesn't, what is next? 6) Are there any alternatives? 7) How much time do I have to decide?
One of the Healthy Birth Practices of Lamaze International is to "Avoid Interventions That Are Not Medically Necessary". Examples of medical interventions that are over-used in our hospitals are: Restrictions on eating and drinking; continuous electronic fetal monitoring; speeding up labor artificially, epidurals, and episiotomies.
Check out your health care provider's rating and feedback on http://www.thebirthsurvey.com/ It's never too late to change care providers. If you are uncomfortable with your care provider's suggestions or style of practice, consider switching.
The Birth Survey
Cesareans are harder on mothers and carry risks for baby and should only be used for life-saving situations. Discuss your concerns with your care provider and find out how often they use cesarean birth in their practice. The World Health Organization recommends a healthy cesarean rate of no more than 10-15%. If your care provider has a significantly higher rate, consider changing providers to someone with a lower rate.
While cesarean birth is the healthiest option for 10-15% of all births, be sure to ask your care provider these questions to avoid a preventable cesarean birth: Is this an emergency? Can we wait an hour or two? How clear-cut is the medical reason for surgery? Would any other doctor looking at this situation make the same recommendation or is this a gray area where some might not recommend a c-section? Are there other things we could try first?
March of Dimes
If a cesarean birth becomes necessary for you, think about what you need to make your cesarean birth as special as possible. You may consider asking for: 1) Conversations to be limited and respectful; 2) Lowering of the screen for the moment of birth so you can watch; 3) Pre and post-operative medication that won't leave you too sleepy to interact with baby immediately after birth; 4) Your partner and doula's continuous presence in the operating room; 5) Immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby including breastfeeding in the operating room; 6) Eating as soon as you feel hungry after surgery.
Penny Simkin's Best Cesarean Possible
If you or a loved one whom you'll be supporting at birth is a survior of sexual abuse, this lovingly written book can help comfortably guide you towards the techniques and comfort measures that will bring peace and comfort during childbirth.