Friday, July 19, 2013

Check out this article! 6cm=Active Labor

I am very pleased to announce that  a reputable OB/Gyn resource has announced a great change in what is considered to be "active labor", meaning, when it is appropriate to go to the hospital.  Among the reasons given, was to cut back on the use of epidural anesthesia...a publication after my own heart.

At 6cm dilation (if we're checking) there are specific markers that we can see on the outside:

-contractions are lasting 60 sec (or more) and are coming every 3-5 minutes.
-contractions are powerful enough to cause her to perspire and perhaps vocalize (moaning etc.)
-she will not likely want to be left alone
-she may not be able to communicate her needs in great detail, and will instead use short and simple, sometimes childlike, language to express herself.
-she will not likely laugh at jokes or comments intended to be funny.
-she appears to have to focus on breath and relaxing through the peak of the contraction.

If women could show up at the hospital at this stage, it would dramatically impact the overuse of chemical cocktails to manage labor discomfort because:

-a lot of women ask for medication at hospitals because they are often strapped to a bed on a fetal monitor and or leashed to tubes of I.V. fluids, FOR HOURS in early labor, which limits mobility and makes if difficult to move into positions that might offer some comfort/relief.
-given the opportunity, many staff members will push drugs...literally. They are accustomed to women being passive, compliant, unprepared for the realities of labor, and frankly they are accustomed to managing labor with drugs.  Natural labor is "un-predictable" compared to their formulaic approach.
-many women experience contractions slowing down and stopping if a change in location happens in early labor, and especially if the new environment has certain factors, including: scrutiny, pelvic exams, constant supervision, lack of control over the environment (who enters the room, for example), machines beeping, etc.  If labor slows down due to these factors, it wasn't active labor.  Active labor doesn't change, it has a grip, traction.  Waiting for this grip to take place will limit the use of pitocin (used to MAKE your uterus contract) which causes contractions that are different than the natural, wave like labor contraction, and therefore usually leads to the epidural.

6cm=active labor

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