Monday, July 15, 2013

Why The Wait? {The importance of labor}

There is a lot of evidence to demonstrate the problems with induction but I'd like to focus on the benefits of letting labor start naturally.

Spontaneous labor begins from a combination of fetal maturity and the emotional state of the mother's health. This concept makes apparent the benefit of labor in regards to neonatal health- the onset of labor demonstrates that the baby was ready to be born.

There are many benefits of labor {even if you're planning the big C}

A cesarean comes with more complications than a vaginal delivery, though may be necessary for a number of reasons. If a cesarean section is not medically imminent or you are electing a c-section, a beneficial option may be to labor prior to the cesarean.  By scheduling your cesarean you'll miss out on the many benefits of the hormones of labor.

Oxytocin is a significant hormone of labor; research shows numerous benefits such as protecting your baby's brain during birth.  Oxytocin is a key player in breastfeeding- not only facilitating bonding but also as part of the hormones of labor that influence the let-down of milk. Prolactin is the major hormone of milk synthesis and though it doesn't peak until closer to birth, it is present throughout labor. Endorphins are also released during labor. Oxytocin and endorphins are interrupted by pitocin and epidurals. [Essential oils, such as lavender, can also be used to release endorphins.]

Another benefit of labor are the contractions- which strengthen the uterus. Contractions also squeeze the babies lungs, helping to expel fluid along with the hormones that prepare the lungs for life outside of the womb. Among these hormones are catecholamines excreted by the adrenal glands of the baby, preparing them for the transition into life outside of the womb. The alertness of your newborn from these hormones also facilitates bonding, while the increase in white blood cells begins to build immunity.

Babies delivered via cesarean without labor are more likely to have respiratory problems; this could be due to not being ready for delivery, the lacking hormones and not having the lungs being squeezed by contractions.

Women undergoing cesarean deliveries without labor were more likely to develop a bacterial infection.(Resource: PubMed

On this Journey of Life we strive to give our babies the best start at life. One way to do that is to make educated decisions. Feet free to utilize the studies and information cited here while consulting with your preferred care provider in making the best decisions for your pregnancy and birth.

More in Why The Wait: Delayed Cord Clamping

Will you wait for labor to begin on its own?

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Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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