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Friday, May 20, 2011

Fetal Heart Rate-example of a deceleration

If anyone wants to see what late decelerations look like here's a link to a really good tracing of the fetal heart rate.

I'm not sure how long they are going to keep this on their site, though.  So I'll keep you updated.

If you look at it, the deceleration starts after the peak of the contraction(the bottom bumps).  It also takes longer than 30 sec. to get to the bottom of the deceleration than slowly comes back up.  This is an indication of problems with the placenta.  This is a serious sign and if it is not corrected, may indicate the need for a c-section.

If these deceleration were to happen before the contraction of if the bottom of the deceleration corresponds to the peak of the contraction, then it may not be as serious.  Sometimes these can be very tricky to discern and often medical personnel will disagree on what a fetal heart rate is really doing.

Some things you can do if this is happening to your tracing:

Move into a different position.  Often this will help correct the pattern.
If your blood pressure is low, you may need iv fluids to bring it up.
Work on de-stressing.  Stress releases hormones that decrease oxygenation to the placenta.
Put on some oxygen.  Essentially at this point, the focus is on increasing oxygenation.
If you are on pitocin, it should be turned down.
Understand that at this point, it doesn't mean your baby is going to die.  What it does indicate is that it is struggling.  I like the analogy of a swimmer being dunked under the water.  You can do this for a while, but after so many dunks, you begin to wear out.  What this heart rate pattern means, is that your baby needs a little bit more help to recover from being dunked under the water and will eventually wear out if it continues.  What we aren't always able to know is how worn out the baby is or when it will eventually stop being able to cope.  So keep doing what you can to help baby get oxygen, and as the mom, the very best thing you can do is continue to work on staying calm and focused so that you can work with your body and be able to make decisions if needed.

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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.