Category Pregnancy

1 Mom, 3 Birth Stories: Epidural, C-Section & VBAC

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When I was pregnant, I had an idea of what the perfect birth looked like. We took the classes. We read the books. We practiced the meditation.

Actually giving birth is so very different from hearing about it in class, reading about it in a book, and visualizing it in your mind. As parents, we learn to make the best with the gifts given to us. Looking back on each of my three, very different births, I feel fortunate to have experienced a vaginal delivery with an epidural, a C-section and an unmediated VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

I am often asked, “Which was the easiest?” The honest truth is that each labor and d...

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Postpartum Depression Linked to Pain During Childbirth

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While postpartum depression occurs for a variety of reasons, not many studies have tried to link pain during childbirth with the incidence of postpartum depression. A recent studypublished in Anesthesia & Analgesia says a link exists.

The researchers studied 214 women, 107 of whom received an epidural during labor per the patient’s request. Each of the 214 women were followed through six weeks postpartum. Researchers found that 14 percent of women who had the epidural had postpartum depression and 34.6 percent of women who didn’t have the epidural had postpartum depression...

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U.K. Tells Second-Time Mums Giving Birth at Home is Safe

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Giving birth at home will become the norm in the United Kingdom if the country’s National Health Service has its way. The NHS says home birth is “just as safe” as a hospital birth for second-time moms and as safe as a “small midwife-led unit” for first-time mothers. Why the change, and is the United States going to follow suit?

The sudden shift in the NHS’s recommendation may stem from the conditions in the obstetrics wards of British hospitals. In May, David Richmond, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that up to 300 babies a year are dying because of to NHS staff shortages...

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Early Elective Deliveries, Especially C-Sections, Are on the Rise

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A study by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, which looked at millions of births in the United States in the last 15 years, found that nearly one in 25 babies were born earlier than medically needed through elective cesarean sections and elective induced labor.

“Our study showed that early elective deliveries are making up between 3 and 4 percent of U.S. births each year,” says Katy B. Kozhimannil, a researcher at the school.

Three to 4 percent of births might seem like a small number, but with nearly 4 million babies born in the United States each year, it adds up to about 140,000 babies...

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Mila Kunis & Other Stars Choose Natural Birth

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Actress Mila Kunis and fiancé Ashton Kutcher are expecting their first child. On a recent episode of “Ellen,” she told the talk show host that she’s planning on having a natural birth.

“We watched a couple of documentaries, and we looked into the … midwife aspect of it and things and spoke to my OB/GYN and realized that the hospital that I’m going to be laboring in does a midwife, you know, doula type of thing,” Mila says.

She said she didn’t want an epidural and added, “I mean, I did this to myself. I might as well do it right.”

The 30-year-old joins other stars who have planned on giving birth “naturally,” some with success and some without...

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Can You Have More Than Ice Chips While in Labor?

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Many hospitals restrict women from eating and drinking during labor, giving women intravenous fluids or ice chips to prevent dehydration instead. A new study examines whether this restriction is medically necessary and concludes that it is not.

A new meta-analysis conducted by researchers in South Africa, Canada and the U.K. analyzed the benefits and harms of restricting eating or taking fluids by mouth during labor. Their article, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, evaluated five studies involving a total of 3,130 women giving birth. All the studies looked at women in active labor who had a low risk of needing a general anesthetic.

The revie...

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What Contractions Really Feel Like

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My biggest question when I was pregnant for the first time was, “What do contractions feel like?” I asked friends who’d given birth, and mostly the answer I heard was that a contraction feels like a bad period cramp. “Huh, that doesn’t sound so bad,” I thought.

After having three babies, I can tell you that this description of labor pain isn’t exactly accurate. So I’m here to tell you what it really feels like.

For me, early labor did resemble intense menstrual cramps. The sensation is uncomfortable, verging on painful, but manageable. I felt the dull ache at the bottom of my abdomen, just like cramps. Then as my labor progressed, the pain intensified...

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3 Approaches to Make Giving Birth Easier

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Perhaps you’ve heard the rumor that giving birth is painful. Well, as a woman who has delivered three babies, let me assure you it’s not a rumor. But birth doesn’t have to be horrible. I’m not suggesting there won’t be pain involved, but you can do things to make the experience go more smoothly. Consider these very different approaches to childbirth that helped three women (spoiler alert: one is me) have easier births.

Hypnobirthing

Hypnobirthing is known to help counteract anxiety about childbirth. According to the Mayo Clinic, hypnobirthing involves using tools like self-hypnosis and relaxation to prepare for birth...

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