Doula Diaries – Follow Along with Rachel Schwartzman, ND and Doula #wellbeingwednesday
We hope that women will deliver around the time of their due date, if not before. It can cause of a lot of anxiety for women when they start to enter post-dates with the looming decision of induction hanging over their heads. Overdue pregnant women are sent for Biophysical Profile Ultrasounds (BPP), every 3 days to assess the health of their baby and placenta. If all shows well they are sent home waiting for the next ultrasound or for the baby to arrive, whichever comes first. The general rule with obstetricians is for the induction process to happen by 10 days post due date. The research shows that at 14 days after the due date the placenta can start to degrade, not functioning as well for the baby. If the ultrasounds are normal, midwives will often allow women a few extra days, to the 14 days post due date.
This first time mom was now overdue. She went for her BPP ultrasounds every 3 days, and each time both the baby and placenta scored perfectly. Her OB had the discussion with her about inducing on day 10. My client really wanted a drug-free birth. She was well informed and knew her best chances for a natural childbirth was to wait for her body to spontaneously go into labour on its own. She told her OB she would consider the induction at 14 days post, but not before. She was going to let her baby choose his arrival time.
I continued to support her with natural induction ideas; we did lots of acupuncture, she took a botanical tincture, walked and squatted, ate spicy foods and dates, had sex, you name it, she did! She woke up on day 14 and instead of calling triage to set up an induction time, she called me. She had been labouring all night and the contractions were getting closer together. I made my way over to her house. She was lying on the couch, music was playing, her partner was beside her and her mother warmed a cup of tea. She looked up at me and said “I knew he would come when he was ready”.
We laboured as a team for a few hours. She took a warm shower. She lay down to rest. She focused on breath. She allowed her body to relax and open. Half an hour later her water broke and we made our way to the hospital. We got into a labour room and she was assessed. She was 6 cm. She took each contraction one at a time. Staying mindful to the moment and enjoying the rest between. She began to feel downward pressure and was told to follow her body’s lead. It took a little while for the urge to push to become strong, but when it did she worked with her breath and pushed her baby right into her arms. Tears of joy as this couple welcomed their baby boy.
Couples can make decisions based on fear and/or external pressures. Fear of the unknown. Pressures by birth professionals. Days later at the post-partum visit we chatted about her birth experience. She told me how important it was for her to trust her body, her baby and the process. I would have to agree.
RACHEL SCHWARTZMAN is a naturopathic doctor in the St. Clair West neighbourhood. She is the co-owner of West End Naturopathic Doulas, a naturopathic collective that supports pregnant women and partners with the birth of their babies. WESTENDDOULAS.COM