“What’s the Plan Stan?”
It’s a real touch and go subject as I discuss childbirth with my expecting friends and patients… To vaccinate or not to… Do I have my baby in a hospital or naturally at home? Many of you seek my insight when planning for your new bundle of joy to arrive. Today’s new parent is informed and has done their research, realizing they have choices. Yet, when that same parent is in the midst of being admitted to the hospital, dilated 4 centimeters and their partner is doing their best to stay in control, paperwork is that last thing on the mind. This is why individualized birth plans have gained popularity in recent years. This unique plan is developed between you and your provider to ensure baby makes it out and into the world as you see fit. Put this plan into action well before giving birth to avoid labor-day suprises!
By virtue of the term, speculation refers to the consideration or intellectual contemplation of a subject. While speculation does not point directly at a fact, it does however raise the idea of possibilities. So when possibilities point to speculative research concerning autism, auto-immune disorders, acute fetal distress and pain, and developmental disorders, I’d be listening rather than dismissing if it could implicate the health of my newly born baby. The specific encouragement for this article came from several parents concerned with the standards of practice in the hospital just following birth. Once that symbolic cord is cut, it’s the newly born child’s first experience away from the mother in the world and parents are always asking me, “what are they doing with my baby when they take them away?”
As I mentioned, the birth plan is put into action as soon as you’re admitted to ensure the team is on-board to collectively finesse your baby into the world. The following lists several after-birth hospital procedures that continually raise safety flags:
- Eye drops: eye drops containing erythromycin or silver nitrate (both antibiotics) are placed into babies’ eyes to prevent infection from bacterias present in the birthing canal known to cause gonorrhea or chlamydia . Both of these, but especially silver nitrate, are known to cause irritation to the eye. Of growing concern is why some hospitals administer these drops although the mother has given birth via c-section (possibility of particular bacteria only present in birthing canal). What you can do: get tested for both gonorrhea or chlamydia before birth to avoid use of eye drops.
- Hepatitis B vaccinations: Almost every hospital will vaccinate new babies for hepatitis B while the ONLY way to contract hepatitis B is if the mother has it. Hepatitis B is contracted by risky behavior, so if you don’t have it, your baby will not have it. Vaccinations contain potentially neuro-damaging excipients that a baby’s un-developed system simply should not have to deal with. Remember, there’s no such thing as “vitamin hepatitis B vaccination,” therefore having it injected preventively when there is in-sufficient clinical evidence of its necessity should be avoided. What you can do: add specific opt-out in your birth plan.
- Pitocin and Cytotec Injections: After many long hours of labor, synthetic pitocin or cytotec will be injected into the mother to “coax” the baby out. These two synthetics can harm the baby by forcing them out with painful, frequent contractions. What you’re not told before the injections: both of these synthetics, because they increase contractions, eliminate or significantly decrease blood flow to the fetus, decreasing their ability to “breathe” and often necessitating the need for un-expected c-section. What you can do: add specific opt-out instruction within your written birth plan.
- Amniotomy: Once thought to speed up labor, this risky and clinically un-precendented procedure is where the amniotic sac is artificially ruptured . Can cause cord compression and therefore malposition. What you can do: add specific opt-out in your birth plan.
- Epidural: When spoken, “epidural” either elicits a smile or fearful look to a mother or would be mother’s face. Often injected without mentioning, an epidural can cause so much numbness in the pelvic floor that the mother will lose her sense of pushing causing the need for the doctor to use painful forceps upon the fetal skull. Other risks include: decreased blood pressure, malpositioning of the fetus, un-expected c-section, nerve damage, reduction of oxytocin, and other serious complications. What you can do: along with adding an opt-out into your birth plan, specialized exercise, breathing, and meditation classes will assist.
I encourage my patients to share their concerns regarding birth optimization with all of their various healthcare providers to ensure their delivery team will have the most comprehensive information possible for the big day.