4 Common Birth Interventions You Can Avoid

And how to avoid them in the most natural way possible.

4 Common Birth Interventions You Can Avoid

As you’re getting ready to give birth, you may find that certain hospital standard practices and medical interventions clash with the birthing experience you want. Many of these medical interventions, research shows, are done more for convenience than for medical reasons. So it’s important to educate yourself and get involved in the decisions related to your labor and birth.

For example, a second-time mom once told me after a childbirth class that the hospital staff had confined her to a semi-reclined position as she was pushing her son out. She struggled, and though she did have the vaginal birth she desired, she was disappointed when she realized there were other pushing positions that could have made her son’s birth easier. So what can you do to avoid the medical interventions that go against your birth plan?


Here are 4 common labor interventions and tips to try and avoid them.

INDUCTION. There are various medical reasons to induce labor, but inductions are on the rise in the U.S. due to a recent trend of scheduling them for non-medical reasons -- like to avoid going past the due date and to have a favorite healthcare provider attend the birth. That said, many women would like to avoid going that route. So what can you do if you want to kickstart labor naturally?

How to avoid: Some experts believe that acupuncture is a very efficient way to jumpstart labor without putting too much stress on the fetus. Placing thin needles into specific areas of the body is supposed to help it release the hormones that are responsible for ripening the cervix and for triggering contractions. Stripping the membrane, which needs to be performed by a doctor or a midwife, consists in inserting two fingers inside the cervix and separating it from the amniotic sac, which can then stimulate the body’s production of prostaglandin to soften and ripen the cervix.

Sex is also a great (and more fun) way to induce labor, as semen contains prostaglandin and can thus soften the cervix. What’s more, the body releases oxytocin during orgasm and nipple stimulation, which can get the uterus to contract. That said, if you are worried and stressed about your due date and about birth, relaxation can help quiet the mind and prepare your body for labor. So take a warm bath, catch a movie or take a stroll through the park. The more relaxed you are, the more open your body will be.

FULL-TIME FETAL MONITORING. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now considers that full-time external fetal monitoring is unnecessary for women who have had a low-risk pregnancy. Yet, full-time monitoring is still the norm in most hospitals.

How to avoid: For more freedom to move around, discuss intermittent monitoring or the use of a hand-held doppler scope. It can get you a more comfortable experience and more efficient contractions, and it can even aid baby get into an optimal position for birth.

EPIDURALS. With almost 70 percent of American women reportedly receiving them, epidurals have become such standard practice that we may not consider the side effects as much as for other interventions. But side effects do exist: a drop in blood pressure, headache, itching, backache, fever, accidental dural puncture, nausea, vomiting and shivering. Fetal side effects can cause be worrisome as well: fetal heart rate, fever, and delayed breastfeeding.

How to avoid: To go sans epidural and manage pain throughout labor, try massages, moving around, diaphragmatic breathing, water therapy and a variety of relaxation techniques.

PINS AND NEEDLES. An IV may not seem like a big deal, but it can stop you from moving, and some women who want to keep using their hands find it painful. The fluids that are administered through the IV, which are supposed to help prevent dehydration in women who are barred from eating and drinking during labor, have also not shown to offer better outcomes for the mother and child. Fluids can also affect breastfeeding and newborns’ ability to latch on. Plus, while baby is still inside the womb, he’s likely to receive excess fluids, which can skew his weight and cause doctors to worry if the baby loses significant amount of water weight.

How to avoid: Discuss the possibility of eating and drinking lightly throughout labor. As long as you are not planning on getting an epidural or on being induced, this should be an option.

Don’t let the commonality of these interventions fool you — there are many different ways to give birth. In fact, as long as you have had a low-risk pregnancy, you’re likely to have many options to explore and consider. So start to lay out your birth preferences, map out your priorities and communicate them as soon as possible to your provider. If you feel like he or she can honor your wishes, then great. Otherwise, you may want to consider changing practice. Any additional comfort and support you can get, from a doula or a partner, will go a long way too.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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