Monday, October 2, 2006

It's getting closer to that time...

And I am as excited as heck! Here's what's been on my mind lately....LABOR! Oh my gosh, I'm kind of scared, but also kind of excited. I sorta pride myself on my high threshold for pain, so I'm actually really contemplating a NATURAL CHILDBIRTH! I started thinking about it after reading an article in one of my baby magazines and they were saying how alert their baby was because of the natural childbirth. Also, I've read that when doing a natural birth, the mother is more in control and that the doctors may have to do less interferring because of that.

One thing that I know I do not want is an episiotomy, I was reading that if you start massaging the perenium at about 34 weeks, you should not have to have one. I know some doctors give you one as a preventative measure so you don't tear regardless, but I DO NOT WANT ONE and I don't want to tear either.

Starting around 34 weeks, you could try massaging your perineum (the area around your vagina). Daily perineal massage may increase the area's stretching ability, leading to less need for an episiotomy and fewer natural tears.

Try this technique yourself, with clean hands and trimmed nails, or have your partner do it for you. If you're going solo, have a large mirror handy so you can see what you're doing and to help familiarize yourself with your perineal area.

* Sit in a semi-reclined position in a warm, comfortable area, spreading your legs
apart. Lubricate your fingers, thumbs, and perineal area with vitamin E oil (from
punctured vitamin E capsules), pure vegetable oil, or personal lubricant. Don't use baby oil, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly.

• Place your thumbs about 1 to 1 1/2 inches (to or just past your first knuckle) inside your vagina and spread your legs. Press down toward the rectum and toward the sides at the same time. Gently and firmly continue stretching until you feel a slight burn or tingling.

• Hold this stretch for about two minutes — until the tingling starts to subside.

• Now slowly and gently massage the lower part of the vagina back and forth, hooking your thumbs onto the sides of your vagina and gently pulling the tissue forward, as your baby's head will do during delivery. Keep this up for three to four minutes.

• Finally, massage the tissue between the thumb and forefinger back and forth for about a minute.

• Be gentle because a vigorous touch could cause bruising or swelling. During the massage, avoid pressure on the urethra (urinary opening) as this can lead to irritation or infection.

Of course, perineal massage isn't for everyone and it may not help in every case. The most important thing you can do is to choose a midwife or doctor who's experienced and comfortable delivering babies without doing episiotomies. In general, midwives tend to perform this surgery less often than physicians. Regardless of the type of practitioner you choose, discuss your wishes and expectations with that person before the birth.