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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

That good ol' placenta-fetal heart tones, part II

Now that we know what is normal, I think it would help to discuss how the baby is oxygenated before I move on to abnormal fetal heart tones.

The baby's lung does not function to deliver oxygen while it is in mom. Instead, mom delivers oxygen to the baby through the placenta. The blood of the mom and baby do not mix, just the oxygen transfers. Therefore, the health of the placenta before birth and during labor is very important. During labor, there is a temporary interruption of blood flow to the placenta during each contraction. Normally, the baby and placenta adapt fine to this and it is well tolerated. I'll go into more detail about what may cause problems in anther post.

Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 5th ed. Gabbe et al.
Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, 8th ed. Martin et al.

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.