Ep 1: 9 Things You Need To Know Before Giving Birth

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Let’s be honest here for a moment about giving birth.

There can be a lot of fear and questions surrounding the entire experience.

But here’s the deal. Whether it’s your first child or your third child IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL to have questions, concerns, and yes, even fears. Thankfully, you’re in the right place, listening to the right podcast!

I’ve been an OB/GYN for over ten years, and have delivered HUNDREDS of babies. Not to mention the fact that I carried and delivered two babies of my own.

Maybe you’re a new mama to be. Maybe you’re a seasoned vet but it’s been a while since you’ve been in the trenches of giving birth.

Regardless of your situation, you wouldn’t mind a little help, am I right?

In this episode, I’m walking you through 9 really important things to know about giving birth. We’ll cover the fact that there’s no “right” way to give birth, all the way to why skin to skin contact with your baby right after birth is important, and seven other incredibly important points in between.

And I’m also telling you about an awesome giveaway I’m sponsoring to celebrate the launch of the podcast! [NOW CLOSED]

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I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

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Speaker 1: It's the very first episode of the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. In this episode, you're going to learn nine things you need to know before giving birth.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the all about pregnancy and birth podcast. I'm Dr Nicole Callaway Rankin's, a board certified Ob/Gyn physician and certified integrative health coach. Every week I break down topics, share birth stories or interview experts to help you have your very best pregnancy and birth. Quick note, the information is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.

Speaker 1: Well hello there. Welcome to the first episode of the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I am so excited to be here with you and give you comprehensive, evidence based, holistic information to help you have your very best pregnancy and birth. I have been in practice as an Ob/Gyn for over 10 years and I've had the privilege of helping hundreds of moms deliver their babies. Through this show, I'm going to share the best of what I know with you. Now, I'm kicking things off by sharing nine things you'll want to know before you give birth, but before I get to that, I've got to tell you about an awesome giveaway I'm sponsoring to celebrate the launch of the podcast. I'm giving away three spots in my online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course. The Birth Preparation Course is a comprehensive course that will leave you feeling knowledgeable about your options and the process of birth, prepared to deal with the possibilities that may arise, confident in yourself and your choices, and empowered to advocate for their birth experience that you desire.

Speaker 1: There are over eight hours of content in The Birth Preparation Course, and that content covers everything from getting in the right mindset for your birth, to the details of labor, to how to make your birth wishes, to what happens in the postpartum period and everything in between. Everything is online so you can go through the material on your own time and at your own pace. There is also a private community for course members and that community is run by an experienced doula. So in the course community, you'll get support from my Doula Kesha, you'll get support from other pregnant women, and I am in the group as well doing regular Q and A sessions. And last but not least, you get lifetime access to the course. Now, The Birth Preparation Course is easily valued at $400. So all you have to do to enter to get a spot in the course is go to ncrcoaching.com/giveaway, that's ncrcoaching.com/giveaway. And that link is in the show notes.

: Okay, I won't make you wait any longer. Let's get to the content of the show. All right. So the first thing I want you to know about giving birth, and this one is first because it's really important, there is no right way to give birth. People will have strong opinions about how you should give birth. Some people will tell you that you should not use any medication. Others will tell you that it is absolutely crazy for you not to have an epidural. The truth is that only you can decide what will work best for you and your birth. If you don't want to use medications to manage pain, that's cool. If you want an epidural as soon as you hit the door, then that is okay too. If you want to read a lot of books and you want to take a course or two, that's awesome. If you want to skip the books and mostly just rely on your doctor or your midwife for information, then that works too. There are different approaches to birth and there is nothing wrong with that, so as long as you and your baby are healthy and safe, I want you to do you. Also be sure not to judge other women who do something different than you. Okay?

: Number two is labor is intense. I'm not going to sugar coat things here. Most women experience labor as painful and to be honest, you probably will too, but listen, let me tell you, labor is a different type of pain. Labor pains come and go at predictable intervals. Unlike most pain, the cause of labor pain is actually a joyous occasion. There's also a definite ending to labor pain and that is the birth of your sweet baby. If you can think about labor pain in this way it will make it easier for you to manage that pain when the time comes. Now the good news is that you have many options available for pain management and if you want to know about the options for how to manage pain in labor, I have a free guide to labor pain management and it'll help you make the best decisions for how you manage your pain in labor. The guide covers everything from medication free techniques like hydrotherapy and hypnosis and massage. It covers medications like intravenous medications and nitrous oxide, and also epidurals. I talk about the risks, the benefits, the side effects of all these different methods and in an unbiased manner. You can get a copy of the Guide at ncrcoaching.com/labor. That's ncrcoaching.com/labor, and that link will be in the show notes.

: Okay. Number three, your doctor is important, but so is your labor nurse. Let me tell you, there is nothing like a good labor nurse. Labor nurses are a critical part of helping you have a safe and fulfilling experience giving birth. Labor usually lasts several hours and your doctor will not be with you the entire time during your labor. You'll probably see your doctor in the beginning, maybe one or two times during the course of your labor and then again, not until right at the end when your baby's being born. A labor nurse's job, however, is to be with you during your labor. She'll keep a close eye on you and your baby to make sure everything is progressing smoothly and she will alert your doctor to any concerns. She'll also help you with pain management techniques and coach you through pushing. When the time comes, she gets you through the not so sexy parts too, like cleaning up poop or blood or even vomit and she'll also get you started with breastfeeding after your baby is born. So yes, your doctor is an important part of your baby's birth, but your nurse is a very important part too.

: Okay. Number four, your doctor should wait to clamp the umbilical cord. This is called delayed cord clamping, and this is when you wait to cut the umbilical cord for at least 30 to 60 seconds. It can be done at the time of a vaginal birth. You can also do delayed cord clamping at the time of C Section birth. Now, as long as your baby is a vigorous at birth, your doctor should delay clamping the cord even if your baby is preterm. The practice of delayed cord clamping is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Nurse Midwives. Now, there are many benefits to delayed cord clamping in full term babies. Delayed cord clamping increases hemoglobin at the part of blood and that's the part of blood that carries oxygen. It also improves iron stores in the first several months of life. Now in preterm babies, delayed cord clamping will decrease the need for blood transfusions. It will decrease the risk of bleeding in the brain and it lowers the incidence of something called necrotizing enteric. Excuse me, necrotizing enterocolitis, a potentially devastating intestinal problem that can occur in preterm babies. Now, there is a slight increased risk of jaundice with delayed cord clamping, but it tends to be very minor and resolves quickly, so you should definitely request that your doctor do delayed cord clamping.

: Number five, there should be skin to skin contact as soon as possible between you and your baby. Skin to skin contact is when your baby is placed directly on your chest, belly down with nothing, no bra, no gap between you and your baby. Skin to skin contact should happen as soon as possible after birth, and by that I mean baby comes out of your vagina and up onto your chest. Your baby can be dried on your chest, covered with a warm blanket and a hat placed on their head. Now if that makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable for baby to come straight out of your vagina and then up onto your chest, you can definitely put like a blanket down first and dry the baby off quickly, and then put your baby on your chest. Now, there are many research-proven benefits to skin to skin contact, including an easier transition to newborn life. Your baby will have more stable breathing after birth. Your baby will have a more stable temperature after birth. Skin to skin contact helps with breastfeeding. It also increases your confidence in caring for your baby and it promotes bonding between you and your baby, so skin to skin contact is definitely important. Now if you have C-Section birth or if your baby needs to be assessed by a doctor right after birth, then skin to skin contact may be delayed a little bit and that's okay. Just start as soon as you can within the first hour after birth. Even your partner can do skin to skin contact now. Some hospitals offer immediate skin to skin contact even at the time of a C-Section birth, and this is done by using a specially designed drape for the operating room table, so you can ask if your hospital has that option available as well.

: Okay. Number six, your doctor may not be there for your delivery. The truth is, it's increasingly common that the doctor who delivers your baby is not the doctor you were seeing for prenatal care. More often it's either the on call doctor or it's someone like me. I'm an OB Hospitalist. All I do as an OB Hospitalist is I work in the hospital and 95 percent of what I do is deliver babies. I spend most of my time on labor and delivery now. There are many reasons for this shift in care and the way that babies are delivered where the doctor during your prenatal care isn't necessarily there for your birth. A big reason for this is safety. Doctors cannot work day after day and be up night after night and provide safe care. That's just not safe and having this shifting care also helps doctors have some predictability to their schedules in an improved work life balance. Now, most women still have a fantastic experience, even if it's not their regular doctor at the delivery. If this is something that you're concerned about, then ask if there's an opportunity before your delivery to meet the other doctors who could be at your delivery.

: Number seven, giving birth is normal, but also unpredictable. Now, the vast majority of births are normal, healthy and uncomplicated, but we cannot plan exactly how birth will go. Birth is an unpredictable process and your baby will not consult any plans that you make or that your doctor makes. Now, this doesn't mean you shouldn't have wishes for how you want your birth experience to go. This is an incredibly special event in your life, so of course you have wishes about how you'd like your birth to go, but you should definitely take some time to educate yourself so your wishes are well formed. Now I have a free mini course on how to make your birth plan. It covers some really important things you'll want to know before you write a single word of your birth plan, as well as key questions to ask to get people to pay attention to your birth plan and what to include. You can go to ncrcoaching.com/birth plan, and that link will be in the show notes now. Also, to better deal with this unpredictability of birth, you need to be sure that you remain flexible during the process of giving birth. Again, the most likely thing that's gonna happen is that you and your baby are going to be healthy and well. However, the journey to the happy ending doesn't always unfold as you expect and being flexible about the process will leave you feeling much more comfortable and at peace with your birth, no matter how things unfold.

Speaker 1: Okay. Number eight is think about getting a Doula. Doulas provide physical and emotional support during labor and the postpartum period. Most Doulas don't have any formal medical training, but there certainly is training available to be a Doula. Doulas are especially helpful if you'd like an unmedicated birth, but they're also helpful if you have an epidural or even a planned C-Section birth. Research studies show that having a support person like a Doula can shorten your labor, it can decrease your need for pain medicine and it can increase your chances for having a vaginal delivery. Now, you will want to choose a Doula whose had formal training. You also want to be sure that she does not push her own agenda and she doesn't try to replace your partner. To find a Doula, you can get recommendations from friends, even your doctor or hospital may have recommendations for a Doula. You can also try doulamatch.net, and I will put that link in the show notes as well.

: All right, last one. Number nine, and this one comes from my inner nerdy self, I will admit. This one is consider taking a look at the placenta. I just find the placenta so fascinating. The placenta is your baby's lifeline during your pregnancy. It provides all the nutrients your baby needs. It also filters all the waste. It really is a miraculous organ. Now, about a year or ago, I started routinely offering to show the placenta to anyone who wants to see it and I've been surprised at how many people take me up on that offer. Women and family members have been amazed. And okay, sometimes they are occasionally grossed out, but it's seeing the sac that the baby lived in, seeing how long the umbilical cord is and seeing the fleshy part of the placenta that does all the work and lots of people take pictures. Now, you may have heard about some women ingesting the placenta after birth, which is a somewhat controversial practice. Most of the time it's done by something called Placenta Encapsulation, which is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground and placed into pills. If you're interested in learning a little bit more information about that, there's a good summary at a website called Evidence Based Birth, and I will link to that summary in the show notes. It provides a really great overview of placenta encapsulation.

: Okay, so to recap, the nine things for you to know before you give birth are number one, there's no right way to give birth. Number two, labor is intense. Number three, your doctor is important, but so is your labor nurse. Number four, your doctor should wait to clamp the umbilical cord. Number five, there should be skin to skin contact as soon as possible between you and your baby, number six, your Doctor may not be there for the delivery. Number seven, giving birth is normal, but also unpredictable. Number eight, think about getting a Doula and number nine, consider taking a look at the placenta.

: Thank you so much for being here. I hope you found this helpful. You can find all the links I mentioned in the show notes. Be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, and if you feel so inclined I would really appreciate you leaving an honest review. And last but not least, don't forget about the giveaway. Enter to win a spot in The Birth Preparation Course. That's an over $400 value. You can go to ncrcoaching.com/giveaway, and that link will be in the show notes. Okay, that's it for episode number one. Until next time, I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and

Speaker 2: Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Callaway Rankins. Head to ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan as well as my online childbirth education class. The Birth Preparation Course has over eight hours of content, a private course community, and will help you become knowledgeable, prepared, confident and empowered going into your baby's birth. Head on over to ncrcoaching.com to learn more.