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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Meconium statistics and implications

I just came across a journal article about meconium, risk factors and what some of its consequences may be.

Here's the conclusions from the article:
"Curtailment of post-term pregnancy reduces the occurrence of meconium-stained amniotic fluid, and meconium aspiration syndrome.
Uterine stimulants, particularly misoprostol, are associated with occurrence of meconium-stained amniotic fluid.
Amniotomy during labour may be a risk factor for meconium aspiration syndrome."

I wasn't able to read through this article, so I'm not sure of what their definition of post-term pregnancy means.  This definition has changed within the culture of childbirth from time to time.  Post-term usually means 42 weeks.  But I have seen some physicians and hospitals that go by after 40 weeks or 41 weeks.  What post-term is could really be a whole other discussion, though.
What I find interesting is the medical establishments fear of post-term pregnancy and it's potential outcomes(like meconium aspiration syndrome) and yet the use of uterine stimulants(like misoprostol or cytotec) and anmiotomy's are perfectly acceptable.  They are deemed needed in many normal births.  Yet both of these medical interventions are also associated with meconium stained fluid or meconium aspiration syndrome.

An interesting delemha....a first time one is 42 weeks pregnant and yet is not ready to go into labor.  Thus there is an apparent risk of meconium in the fluid.  Yet many physicans will then order cytotec or pitocin to induce labor, which is also associated with meconium in the fluid.  They will also then break the water to further encourage labor.  Both of which are also associated with meconium in the fluid.  These routine medical interventions are all done in the hopes of preventing meconium aspiration.  So which factor plays a larger role in meconium aspiration?  I'd be curious to know.  And why to we perform interventions that cause a complication when they are being used to prevent it?  Would it be better just to let the overdue mom go into labor on her own?  I'd be curious to know what those answers are.


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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.