Delaying the First Bath

Delaying the First Bath

Waiting to bathe babies after birth leads to better outcomes, according to an Illinois nurse conducting research on the subject.

Unable to find significant research about the benefits of delaying the newborn bath, nurse Courtney Buss spent six months observing and recording outcomes for babies whose first bath was immediate or delayed.

After one month, she found that delaying the first bath for 8-24 hours resulted in the following outcomes:

  • Hypothermia rates decreased from 29% to 14%
  • Hypoglycemia rates decreased from 21% to 7%
  • Breastfeeding rates increased from 51% to 71%

Vernix, which is the white, waxy substance covering newborn babies, keeps babies warm and helps control blood sugar. Because the baby’s body doesn’t have to work hard to stay warm, energy is conserved that can be used for breastfeeding instead.

Thanks to Buss’s research, her hospital system now has a policy to wait 14 hours before baby’s first bath.

How long did you wait to bathe your baby?

Vitamin D in Pregnancy

Vitamin D in Pregnancy

With a growing (and sometimes overwhelming) checklist for a healthy pregnancy, here’s an easy one: Vitamin D supplementation!

New research shows that taking Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may help protect against asthma and other respiratory infections.

The study showed that women who had received Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy gave birth to babies with a boosted immune response. This immunity may result in a decreased risk of asthma.

“But I live somewhere sunny… do I need vitamin D?”

Yup. According to Kathy Adams LM, CPM, a midwife at Babymoon Inn, nearly everyone – pregnant or not – could benefit from supplementation.

“No matter how much sun we get, most people are deficient in vitamin D,” she said. “Different people may need different supplementation amounts depending on sex, age, lifestyle, etc. Talk to your doctor or midwife about what vitamin D supplement may be most appropriate for you.”

Read more about the Vitamin D study here.

Eat Dates Around Your Date

Eat Dates Around Your Date

As your pregnancy winds to an end and you find yourself stocking up on diapers, prepping your bag for the birth center, and finishing your childbirth education classes, there’s one other thing to remember… DATES!

Hop in the car and head to a natural foods store (Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.) to stock up on some dates for snacking during your last few weeks of pregnancy.

The date fruit is the product of the date palm, a tree native to Northern Africa and the Middle East.  There are many kinds of dates and each variety is unique in size, sweetness, flavor, and texture.

So why eat dates in pregnancy?  So. Many. Reasons.

“They’re a nutritional powerhouse, packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein,” says Maribeth Diver MSN, CNM, a midwife at Babymoon Inn birth center.  “They’re especially rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc, and they contain 23 types of amino acids, 14 types of fatty acids, and fiber.”

But that’s not all.  Research has demonstrated significant benefits for pregnant women who eat six dates a day beginning four weeks before their due date.

These women were:

  • more dilated upon labor admission
  • more likely to have their amniotic sac remain in tact until after labor began
  • less likely to be induced or have labor augmented with medication
  • less likely to have long, slow, tiring “prelabor”

Eating dates during labor has also been shown to reduce vomiting, increase energy, and shorten the length of pushing.  It has also been shown to reduce the amount of bleeding after birth.

Excited about an easier, shorter labor but not sure how to eat six dates a day?  Google date recipes or borrow one from Babymoon Inn’s registered dietitian Megan McNamee.

“Dates are a good source of fiber and potassium that can act as a natural sweetener in many recipes,” she says.  “My favorite way to use them is by blending them with equal parts nuts like macadamia nuts or almonds until smooth to form an energy ball.  Stir in shredded unsweetened coconut or cocoa nibs for fun variations.  Roll into one-inch balls and freeze.  They’re great straight from the freezer!”

Did you eat dates around YOUR date?  Do you feel like it benefitted you during labor?

Nurses and Cesarean Rate

Nurses and Cesarean Rate

With one out every three babies currently being born surgically in the United States, health care providers, researchers, and consumers are all beginning to question what can be done to lower the Cesarean rate and consequently the associated risks for moms and babies.

We recently shared a study conducted by Dr. Neel Shah and Ariadne labs that uncovered the correlation between facility design and Cesarean rate, and now a new study now looks at how nurses impact this rate as well.

The Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing published a retrospective cohort study that included 3,031 births and 72 nurses. While the mean nurse Cesarean rate was 26%, nurse’s individual rates ranged from 8.3% to a whopping 48%.

With such a wide variation in Cesarean rates across nurses, the study concluded that “the nurse assigned to a patient may influence the likelihood of cesarean birth.” The authors further suggest that, “Data regarding this outcome could be used to design practice improvement initiatives to improve nurse performance.”

Find the original study.

Women Catching Their Own Babies

Women Catching Their Own Babies

A few months ago while retelling a birth story in my Lamaze class, I got to the part where “mom reached down and caught her baby,” and was met with giggles at the use of the term.

We talk about about “catching babies,” pretty frequently around the birth center. A midwife or doctor doesn’t deliver a baby. The mother delivers her baby, while a midwife, birth partner, or mother herself “catches” the baby.

I realized two things at that moment in class – that a woman “catching her baby” was not only an unfamiliar term, but also an unfamiliar concept. I was, of course, delighted to share with the class the joy of catching one’s own baby – an experience that personally still gives me goosebumps years later.

Doula and birth photographer Morag Hastings or Apple Blossom Families shares my love for seeing and hearing about women catching their own babies – so much so that she recently shared a blog post containing ten stunning images of this exact event.

Morag writes:

I was showing my girlfriend my recent slideshow featuring a mom catching her own baby. She asked me part way through, ‘Where are the midwives?’ I explained they were in the background for most of the birth, they would pop over quietly for a moment then go back to the kitchen table. They were giving my clients space to work through the intense waves. Not breaking the dance that was ensuing between the birthing mom and her partner. When the baby was being born into the mom’s hands, the midwife was right there ready to help if the mom needed it.

Who caught your baby? What was that moment like?

See all of Morag’s images.