Andrea Lythgoe

Collage of images with Wednesday Wrap Up superimposed

Wednesday Wrap Up April 2022: Cesarean Birth

Why it’s needed

Reasons for a Scheduled Cesarean
Reasons for Unplanned and Emergency Cesareans

How it’s done

Step by Step Photos of Cesarean Birth
Cesarean Procedure

What to expect if you need one

What is in my Hospital Bag for a Cesarean?
In the OR, a planned cesarean experience
What to Expect in a Cesarean
5 Things You Might Feel During A Cesarean

Recovery

4 Tips for a Fast Recovery
Overview of a Recovery After C-Section

Impact on future pregnancies and births

Pros and Cons of Vaginal Birth After Cesarean
VBAC Stats: Apples and Oranges
Birth after multiple cesareans

Collage of images with Wednesday Wrap Up superimposed

Wednesday Wrap Up: March 2022 Pain Medication Options

5 Medication Options to Relieve Pain in Labor and Birth
Pain Relief Options for Labor
Series of articles on Pain Management Options from Evidence Based Birth

Narcotic Pain Medications

IV Pain Medications for Labor
Effects of IV Opiods for Labor

Epidurals

What is an epidural?
Positions to use with an epidural
Don’t Make These Mistakes with an Epidural

Nitrous Oxide

5 Frequently Asked Questions about Laughing Gas in Labor
Using Laughing Gas for Labor
Largest Study of its Kind Finds Nitrous Oxide Safe for Labor

Collage of images with Wednesday Wrap Up superimposed

Wednesday Wrap Up January 2022: Birth Defects

A “birth defect” is a structural issue that is present at birth. The most common are heart issues, arm or leg issues, cleft lip or palate, and spinal cord problems. Since this is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, that’s the topic of the day!

CDC Page on common birth defects
Stories from families around the world of people who experience a birth defect
Information from the March of Dimes
Reducing the Risk of Birth Defects

Collage of images with Wednesday Wrap Up superimposed

Wednesday Wrap Up Nov 2021: Prematurity

Preventing Premature Birth

10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Premature Birth
3 Risk Factors for Preterm Birth
Are you at Risk of Preterm Birth? And what can you do about it?

Recognizing Premature Labor

Signs and Symptoms of Preterm Labor
Preterm Labor Signs and Symptoms

What to expect at various stages of prematurity

Premature Babies and Complications by Week
Premature babies 26-36 weeks

Parenting a Baby in the NICU

Kangaroo care
3 Milestones that must be met before leaving the NICU
10 Notes from NICU nurses to Parents
Empowered NICU Parenting

Living room set up for a home birth

Home Birth Prep List

When you’re having a home birth, you might think there’s nothing to pack! But….there are things you can organize and buy to make for a better experience.

Many midwives will give you a list of the supplies they recommend, so I’m not going to try and cover those, but I do want to address some of the preparations you can do outside of the supplies for the birth itself.

Decide what you might want to wear in labor – big flowy nightgown? pants? a robe? Nothing?

Things to keep you occupied during early labor – Maybe a new movie or show you haven’t seen yet, baking a birthday cake for the new baby, making cookies for your birth team, knitting a baby blanket, doesn’t much matter as long as it keeps you busy and doesn’t take much mental or physical energy.

If there will be older siblings there, activities to keep them distracted can be useful as well. You might want to buy some inexpensive new things and keep them hidden away until the big day.

Similarly, make a plan for child care and pet care. You can have someone come and attend the birth with their primary role to support siblings, or you can have them go to a friend or family member’s home. Pets can also go somewhere or stay in another area as needed.

Sign on door with drawing of baby and the words Home Birth In Progress

Make a sign for your door to let people know what’s happening and that they should stay away or quietly enter, whichever you prefer.

Food – You may want to have a super simple meal ready to go. Something someone can take from the freezer and throw in the oven after the baby is born that will be done an hour or so later. Your birth team may still be there, so plan extra to share. If it doesn’t get used, leftovers are great to have, too. You can also make and freeze postpartum meals or set up a system for friends and family to bring meals in for a while.

Snacks – Have some grab and go snacks that you can use in labor as needed. Crackers, granola bars, bowl of cereal etc.

Drinks – Sometimes drinks go over easier than food when you’re laboring in earnest. Have some full sugar electrolyte drinks, juices and premade smoothies on hand.

Last Minute To Do List – Some things can’t be done that far ahead. Make a list of the last minute things, like setting up the birth tub and putting the double bedding on the bed, so that nothing gets forgotten and you can just direct your support people to the list to know what needs to be done.

That’s all I have for now, what do you have to add?

Collage of images with Wednesday Wrap Up superimposed

Wednesday Wrap Up Sept 2021: Baby Safety

There’s no way I can cover every possibility for baby safety, but here are some links to information on some of the most common safety topics:

Good overall article on baby safety

Car Seat Safety

Car seat checklist

The process of choosing and using a car seat

Find a car seat technician in your area

Sleep Safety

Ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation

Buying a safe crib

Baby Proofing

Baby Proofing the nursery

13 Things Parents often Overlook

First Aid

Because you can’t prevent everything, it’s a good idea to brush up on how to care for things that might come up.

First Aid Guide for Parents

The basics of CPR for babies but consider taking a class, too!

6 Essential First Aid Techniques All Parents Should Know

Collage of images with Wednesday Wrap Up superimposed

Wednesday Wrap Up Aug 2021: Breastfeeding

MotherToBaby is a great place to learn more about medications, environmental exposures, and anything else you are worried might be a problem with breastfeeding.

Lactation Link offers online courses about breastfeeding from an IBCLC.

KellyMom has great evidence based information

Find an IBCLC in your area here.

Milkology has a bunch of free resources you can use.

You can find breastfeeding support through the Leaky Boob Community, KellyMom, or La Leche League

Splash of milk on black background

100% Clean Milk and other lies we judge ourselves by

I recently saw a few posts on social media that I’ve paraphrased here:

I had to have emergency gallbladder surgery this week, at 10 days postpartum. I have declined all medication even after told low doses are okay just to make sure my supply stays strong and so my baby gets 100% clean milk. Because I have done this, I am very tired and in a lot of pain, the thought of pumping sucks. I am just looking for any encouragement. I know I have made it through the hard part but it’s still rough.

My baby is 11 months old, and he’s been with me his whole life. Literally he’s always with me. He sleeps in our bed, I wear him in a carrier, and I work from home with my baby on my lap or in a small crib right next to me. The only thing I don’t do without him is shower. And that’s only sometimes! Sometimes I do shower with him on my hip. We’re pretty much joined at the hip. I have always told him I would be there for him ALWAYS. The problem is, my husband wants to leave him with his parents so we can have a date. And eventually, he wants to go on a weekend cruise! I don’t know what to do. My son needs his mommy, but my husband is pretty insistent, too. How can I just abandon him for a hike and picnic?

Both of these illustrate a trend that I’ve noticed and find concerning. The idea that babies need perfection and parental contact 100% of the time. And it’s not true.

Sometimes it’s better to take care of yourself and your relationships first!

The word SuperMom with the second half crossed out and changed to Exhausted

It’s absolutely OK as a parent to take care of your own medical needs – in my opinion, taking care of your own medical needs will make you a BETTER parent than suffering in order to have “100% clean milk” (whatever that means).

And I’ve been there, I’ve had to make that call.
When I had emergency surgery when I was a few months postpartum, it was rough. But the pain meds helped me rest and recover more quickly, which was crucial because my husband was not able to take any time off work – he’d used all his leave when baby was born. His boss was kind and gave him 2 *unpaid* days off, but after that I was on my own. Pain meds helped me get baby back to the breast (instead of the pump) sooner. If I had not used those couple days to take the meds and rest, no way would I have been in any kind of shape to care for the baby – and my older kids – when he had to go back.

The second example is focused more on relationships between parents and trusting that your baby will be okay apart from you. The bond with your baby is intense. As it should be…at first. That intensity in the first weeks builds a strong attachment that is a foundation for your baby being able to explore the world. A “home base” of sorts. It’s normal and developmentally appropriate for babies to spend time away from their parent. Once that home base has been established in the first few weeks, babies will want to start exploring their world. And they can start experiencing other caregivers. I promise they won’t feel abandoned. And nurturing your relationship with your partner is important too. Start small. Leave your baby with your partner for a trip to the store. Do that a time or two and then leave your baby with someone you trust for a date with your partner.

I encourage you to think critically about the absolutes and the pressures you are buying into. You don’t have to be perfect or do it all as a parent!