Once you educate yourself on the elements of a healthy birth, there may be times you need to advocate for yourself and your baby. Hopefully you’re able to choose a birthplace that largely supports your goals for birth, but if that’s not possible, here are some suggestions that might make negotiating easier.
You’re not new to this whole motherhood thing. You remember the sleepless nights, the mountains of laundry, the explosive diapers, and the spit-up stained carpets. And you must not have forgotten the sweet smell of your baby’s freshly bathed head, the warmth of her tiny little body as she curls up to rest on your shoulder, and those sweet fingers reaching up in search of yours. So many parts of this experience will feel familiar to you, but in truth, everything is different now, because you’re bringing this baby into a home that already has a baby in it.
Doctors in the delivery room are increasingly urged to hold off cutting the umbilical cord of a newborn. Delayed clamping, as it’s called, allows blood to continue flowing from the placenta, improving iron stores in the baby.
But the practice has been slow to catch on in part because doctors have also been advised that for it to be most effective, they also must hold the wet, screaming infant at the level of the mother’s vagina for a crucial minute or longer so that gravity will help blood flow.
Doctors have long considered the maneuver awkward, and now a new study, published on Wednesday in The Lancet, has found that it is probably unnecessary. Babies who were placed on their mothers’ stomachs before clamping fared just as well as those who were held lower, the researchers found.
The advice to never sleep with your baby has backfired in the worst possible way. Rather than preventing deaths, this advice is probably even increasing deaths. In another study, parents of two SIDS infants who coslept on a sofa did so because they had been advised against bringing their infants into bed but had not realized the dangers of sleeping on a sofa.5 In fact, deaths from SIDS in parental beds has halved in the UK from 1984-2004, but there has been a rise of deaths from cosleeping on sofas.7
New findings may offer a boost to proponents of newborn male circumcision: researchers report that the health benefits of undergoing the procedure “exceed the risks by over 100 to 1,” and note that “over their lifetime, half of uncircumcised males will contract an adverse medical condition caused by their foreskin.”