I'm about 10 weeks away from my due date and I'm writing up my birth plan. Last time I remember being irritated with the endless stream of hospital personnel. The nurse came in of course to push on my uterus, take blood pressure, offer advil...mostly it seemed like they took my blood pressure every frickin' half hour. But then there were also silly things like the photo lady (which we didn't buy but for some reason I let them take her picture), the food lady to take my order, etc.
Some of these visits were necessary, but I'd like to keep them at a minimum this time. I'm requesting in the birth plan that they not send in lactation consultants or photo people...what am I missing? I can't remember the reasons for all of the visitors.
And second, how often do they REALLY need to do cervical checks? Last time I requested minimal checks and for all I know, they complied because I don't know what's normal. But it sure felt like they checked me too often. It was SO painful and messed with my groove when I had to reposition and lay on my back. Any thoughts?
It is very easy to diagnose "failure to progress" based on cervical checks, which leads to all kinds of interventions when in most cases being patient and moving around or changing position would have been fine. Not to mention the risk of introducing infection, the general discomfort, and actually *impeding* the natural progress of labor by throwing off the mother's focus and confidence. Cervical checks have their place, but it is not necessary to do them routinely.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to your doctor's advice, but always ask why. You want to know there is a real reason before you allow someone to do a cervical check.
When I had my son I had only one cervical check during labor, to make sure I was fully dilated before pushing.
I found this piece about cervical checks, written by a midwife: http://www.nurturingheartsbirthservices.com/blog/?p=50&cpage=2
So that's my advice!
I guess I should mention that I do want them to check me toward the end in plenty of time for my doctor to get there because he is AWESOME and a wonderful advocate for natural birth. Also, I have him sign off on the birth plan and my husband is prepared to just hand a copy to the nurse (we'll bring lots of copies) if they stray from my wishes - which includes NOT announcing how dilated I am unless I specifically ask and not to mention anything about "failure to progress" but to instead allow my body time to do what it needs to do and just check, leave and allow my body to keep doing what it's doing. So I'm not too worried about some of that stuff (last time they were actually very respectful of that stuff and did just as I asked). My husband knows the drill and my doctor "gets it" so I feel like I'm a hospital birther who is at a significantly lesser risk of unnecessary interventions with these support people in place.
I'd hate for them to check me only right before pushing and the doctor not have time to get there. I feel like he's part of my support group, I want him there as last time he helped me through transition. But, I also don't want unnecesary checks....hmmm. I wonder how compliant they'd be if I told them to limit it to 3 checks...one at admission (I understand they want to see if I am actually in active labor and needing to stay) and then two others, the last one being to confirm full dilation. Of course if I wasn't fully dilated, then they'd have to check yet again. Ugh. I don't know.
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