Friday, December 16, 2011

Not Eating During Labor... an out-of-date practice

Lately, I have been shocked by the amount of expectant mothers who are not aware that they cannot eat once the are admitted into the hospital. It is customary, here in the US, to make sure that laboring women only have liquids. These consist of water, ice chips, juice, jello (or Jelly to my UK friends :)) and Popsicles. Now, I don't know about you, but the last time I checked labor was a pretty intense process, requiring a ton of energy. How do doctors, or should I say anesthesiologists, expect moms to labor all day, or longer, and then push and push and push? Its a marathon for crying out loud and laboring women need to restore their energy!
Eliminating solids from a laboring woman's diet stem back from the 1940's when a doctor, Curtis Mendelson, who studied aspiration in laboring rabbits noted that the risk of vomiting the contents of your stomach into your lungs is increased while under general anesthesia.
Well, times have changed. For one thing there are a lot less women who have to go under general anesthesia for emergent cesareans, in fact only 1-2%. One doctor put it this way, "My own view of this has always been that you could say one shouldn’t eat or drink anything before getting into a car on the same basis, because you could be in an automobile accident and you might require general anesthesia,” said Dr. Marcie Richardson, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston. Plus, the risk for aspirating is much less than previously why hasn't the protocol changed?
Some doctors, more midwives, will now allow small snacks during labor as they see the benefits outweigh the risks. Actually, studies show that the duration labor is shortened by 45-90 minutes in women who are allowed to eat! The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviewed this policy in 2009 allowing mothers to drink clear liquids but have yet to remove the ban on solids.

What even more interesting is that the United Kingdom doesn't have these same restriction. In fact they mention if a mother isn't refueling their body then they go into a state of ketosis which can cause nausea, vomiting and headaches. Counterproductive?
Your best bet is to check in with your provider to see how the side with this subject. If you provider is adamant about no food then prepare to eat a substantial meal before you head to the hospital.
So what is appropriate to eat while in labor, after all you don't want to add vomiting to the list of labor pains if you don't have to. Eating things such as toast with jam, plain pasta, applesauce, Jello, Popsicles or sorbet are great ways to boost your energy levels. Drinking things like clear broths, tea, water, juice without pulp and soda water will help keep you hydrated. Whatever you do skip the fast food, however tempted, on the way to the hospital or birthing center.

Another thing to remember is that your birth partner will most likely get hungry. He or she should also eat a meal before embarking to the hospital and should pack snacks for the journey of labor as he or she may not be able to leave to grab a bite. Plus, never bring smelly food into a labor room. Laboring women has a high sensitivity to smell which may make them sick or in the very least distract them, from the task at hand and it's totally unfair since they can't eat!
From experience, I can tell you that ate throughout my labor. I was told to visit the cafeteria upon arriving at the hospital and even though I wasn't feeling hungry I knew I was in it for the long haul. I also remember Richard, my husband, feeding me chocolate and water. I was exhausted, of course, but I can't imagine what it may have been like if I hadn't replenished the calories I had already burned.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When is too much too much?

Sorry I have been gone for so long. Life gets in the way sometimes :)

Cartoon kids running toward christmas tree. Presents all around Stock Photo - 9362113
I don't know about many of you but how do you handle Christmas, or any other gift giving holiday, when it comes to your children? I mean do friends and family ask you what to get for your kids? How do you answer?
As a new mom I have found this interesting and challenging. I don't want Paige to grow up valuing monetary things? I want her to value the time spent with her family and I sure don't want her to think that Christmas is all about receiving. My mom asked me about a month ago if she could get her a playhouse, you know the life size ones. "She's only 17 months", I told her, "what the heck are you going to buy her when she's five?" That didn't go over really well. The way she sees it, as I'm sure that many do, is that she wants to spoil her. I had to put a stop to it. Below is an interview with Kim John Payne who wrote the book, "Simplicity Parenting". The interview discusses What Too Many Toys Can Do to your children.... it's an interesting piece.

Scary, huh?

Its already bad enough that she sees commercials for toys and is captivated. I can only imagine what it will be like when she's older and can conceptualize the holiday season! In fact, this season her father and I decided to get her only one gift. I just hope that my family can restrain themselves as there will be plenty more opportunities to give her things.

Remind you of anything?!

So, if you find yourself in this situation here are some alternatives you can tell friends and family in place of toys. After all, what do you remember most about your childhood? Is it the toy you received on your 6th birthday or is it the memories you made at the party???

1. Have loved ones put money into a saving account or a trust fund set up in your child's name....I'm sure it will go to good use once they reach college! I know that in this economy many parents struggle to put money aside, why not have family pitch in?

2. Suggest that family give your child the gift of time. Maybe they can set a date to take each child out alone to somewhere special such as the zoo or the museum. If family is out of town a sleep over is always fun.

3. Sponsor a child through an international Charity or better yet donate to a local charity. Maybe something that the child is interested in and if it's in their own "Back Yard" they can watch to see how their donation is working.

4. Get the child a annual pass to their local zoo, museum, fun park or water park. They can enjoy this gift over and over!

5. Pay for lessons. Maybe they enjoy ballet or karate, piano or guitar. The possibilities here are endless.

6. Adopt an animal at the World Wildlife fund or your local zoo. This way the child can watch the animal grow throughout the years and will enjoy visiting them too.

7. Give them the gift of gardening. Help them plant some seeds and watch them get excited as they grow and produce fruit or vegetables. You'll also be teaching them about taking care of another living thing and a life lesson in providing food.

8. The ultimate selfless act of volunteering for the holidays to those less fortunate. Help start a coat drive for needy children or serve food at the local shelter.

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The possibilities are endless and the children will be much better off if they learn the value of giving instead of receiving. The value of time over objects. The value of memories over things.
Telling friends and family about these thoughtful alternatives may be difficult but if you explain their purpose I'm sure many would understand and get on board.