Episiotomy: Is it necessary?

 What is an episiotomy?

An episiotomy is the surgical procedure that enlarges the opening of the vagina through the cutting of the perineum, the skin and the muscles between the vulva and the anus. Continue reading

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2nd time mum’s home birth story with the NMH DOMINO midwives

My second pregnancy flew by – with a nearly two year old toddler in tow, I hardly had time to contemplate all of the birth preparation I had so diligently practiced before my first child was born.

I had a fairly quick and easy labour at Holles Street (National Maternity Hospital or NMH) on my first child so my partner and I decided to opt for a home birth for our second baby. My second pregnancy was very typical in that I felt nauseous for the first few months, until I finally did a pregnancy test and realised I had conceived some weeks before. I was still breastfeeding my toddler so I was not getting regular periods at this point. We knew we wanted another baby so we were taking no precautions and letting nature take its course and after only two irregular periods, our second child was conceived. Continue reading

Irish mum’s second birth in the US with midwives

Well as I’d gone early with my first daughter I assumed I’d be the same on my second birth. So 40 weeks came and went and no sign of baba!

I had decided early on I’d go with midwives as I’d seen that film “the business of being born” and I was nervous of the over-medicalised view of birth in America. Through friends I found a lovely midwife group who were very supportive of natural birth and just letting women do what they need to do during labour. I was really keen for a natural birth this time. Even though I had one the first time I was a little worried that this birth could be different and I wanted to do as much as I could to help me achieve this. So myself and my husband did a 12 week antenatal course (Bradley birthing class) and I read loads of inspiring books on birthing. Ina May Gaskin’s book quickly became a favourite. Continue reading

A second time mother’s home birth

I was due on 27 December 2012 and waited for my so much wanted home birth. On my due date everybody was asking if anything started and really annoyed as it was putting more pressure on me and reminded me of 14 days countdown. I had absolutely no signs of upcoming labour. I started losing any hope for home birth with days passing. On 3 days overdue I woke up full of energy and ridden with period cramps but irregular. They were gone by night time. Next day passed really quietly, no cramps, no energy. Continue reading

Communication Tools: Birth Preferences for your Birth Plan

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Your needs in birth are as individual as you are.

Your experience of labour and birth should be exactly that – YOURS. Every birth is unique and each woman will approach childbirth in her own way. It is important that you have the information you need to decide what is right for you and your baby, and that your experience of labour and birth reflects these wants and wishes. Continue reading

42 Weeks Poll – Epidural: Your Story

The birth stories last week described one woman’s experience of choosing an epidural for her first birth and then opting not to have an epidural for her second birth. We’re interested to hear if you opted for an epidural, or not and we’re interested to know whether you plan to opt for one during your labour, or not. Continue reading

Induction of Labour – Is It Right For You?

When making decisions on maternity care options, a woman is faced with a plethora of possibilities. From the time a woman discovers she is pregnant, the choices can sometimes feel like more of a burden than an opportunity, as it can take serious time and effort to study all the risks and benefits to every option in maternity care. Research shows that women who are informed and confident about their birth choices tend to have fewer interventions and fewer complications compared to women who have done little to no preparation for their birth. At 42 weeks, we are trying to take the effort out of the task of researching and to present concise and thorough guides to some of the more frequently asked questions about common maternity care options in pregnancy, labour and childbirth. Today, 42 weeks looks at: Induction. Continue reading

Did you know? – Epidural pain relief and breastfeeding: New research

“The only thing as consistent as birth pain has been the search to eradicate it, pharmaceutically”Tina Cassidy, Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

Pain medications in childbirth have been sought for millennia. Egyptians used opium, the Greeks chewed willow bark and, on a mythical level, Artemis asked Zeus if she could remain an eternal virgin just so that there would be no chance of experiencing the pain of childbirth! Later in history (around the 1850‘s) ether and chloroform became popular medications in childbirth, until it was proven that these anesthetics were transferred to the newborn during labour and delivery. From 1914 to the late 1960‘s, the new fad in pain relief in childbirth was ‘twilight sleep’, or scopolamine & morphine, whereby a woman was rendered completely immobile and/or semi-conscious in labour and childbirth. This method became unfavourable in the 1960’s and 70’s when women began to question their lack of agency in  labour and childbirth. There were also dangerous side-effects to scopolamine (mainly hemorrhaging and transference of medication to the newborn), hence it became an unpopular method of pain relief and its phasing out made way for the most common and effective pain relief in labour and childbirth that is still used today – the epidural. (Cassidy, 2006) Continue reading

A gentle VBAC water birth at home

It was 2am on Tuesday morning, 5th March, and I woke up to cramps. They were very manageable, really just felt like period cramps. After timing them for about 40 minutes, it seemed they were 10 minutes apart. Shortly after that my 4 year-old little monkey woke up and wasn’t feeling the best, so I took him down to his Daddy to mind and got back to bed to rest and keep an eye on the cramps. I wasn’t due until the 8th March, so I still thought that it might have been just Braxton Hicks. Anyways at 6am, they were still going and so I knew I was on my way. I pottered downstairs and turned on the immersion so the water would be ready when it was time to fill the pool. I didn’t want to disturb anyone at this stage as I felt it was too early yet. But by 6.30, they had moved to 4/5 minutes apart so I gave my midwife a buzz and she was on her way. Next phone call was to my sister who we had asked to look after the kids. Continue reading

Choice in Pregnancy and Birth in Ireland

Period late? Feeling tired? Sore breasts? Over emotional? These are all signs of pregnancy. Most mothers choose to further confirm such physical symptoms with a pregnancy test. Once you have a positive pregnancy test then a world of choice presents itself! Where will I have my baby? Who will look after me? How will I find out how to give birth? Should I breastfeed? For the first time mother the choices seem overwhelming and endless, and what makes it all the more confusing is that everyone seems to have a different opinion on what you should do! Continue reading

With Woman

Quote

I missed the conception – the sweet pain, the writhing, the sweat and moans and the ecstasy.

During your bearing I have not been there either.

But I am here now. I am with you.

Woman do not fear, come with me. Together we will come to a place of joy.

I will guide you through churning waters and bring you to harbour.

To shore.

And when the moon calls me again I will go back out to the wild to seek another soul to bring to safety.

To Bliss. Fulfilment.

In the blue scrubs and bright lights I am with you, Woman, I am here with you

In the flurry of injections, cord traction and machines that go beep, and pip and squeak.

I am with you – stars in darkness, rolling black waters.

Sweet pain, writhing, sweat, moaning and glorious profound actualisation.

Take my hand, my heart. I am yours for as long as you need me.

So sweet woman, come to shore. To the culmination of love and hope.

Rivulets of blood and perspiration. Ruddy cheeks and eyes bright.

Days swim into night.

We are of the world and out of it.

Foreheads pressed. Whispering. Strength and gentleness meld, melt and merge.

Pushing, panting, gasping, smiling, crying, laughing, and perfect, perfect joy.

And as your needs release me I am not sure which one of us floats from the other.

Yet I will always be with you.

Naomi M. O’Donovan, Student Midwife