Jeans – that one item of clothing that almost everyone owns. Yes they’ve stood the test of time and they never seem to go out of fashion. There are different styles and ways of wearing your jeans; this season it’s out with the skinny fit and in with the loose fit complete with turn ups for a more casual vibe. Versatile, hard wearing and comfy, what’s not to love about jeans?
So what’s all this got to do with birth? Well believe it or not although babies are all born pretty much the same way, there are fashions and trends that emerge from time to time that shape the experience of pregnancy and birth for mums and their babies.
Here’s just a few of the latest birth fashions, will they grow in popularity or fall by the wayside? Only time will tell…!
Umbilical cord ties
This is a relatively new trend – some women are wanting their baby’s umbilical cord to be tied following the birth with a cord tie rather than the usual plastic clamp. A quick internet search will bring up several companies selling these cord ties with different styles to choose from. Check out this letter style design, what a great idea for identical twins – a different letter or colour helps tell them apart!
Women that have used these cord ties say they feel more confident changing nappies without having the clamp to deal with. They also feel that skin to skin cuddles are more comfortable for them and their babies without the cord clamp getting in the way.
Thanks to the smart phone there seems to be more photos being taken of women during labour and birth these days, but some couples are choosing to take it to the next level and are hiring a birth photographer to capture amazing emotional scenes such as these –
Yes of course hypnobirthing gets a mention! Back in 2009 when bumps ‘n’ babies came to be not many people had heard of hypnobirthing and midwives were baffled by the concept of women using self hypnosis for labour. In the last two years there’s been a hypnobirthing boom with more and more women raving about the benefits. Midwives are on board with it too. If a hypnobirthing mum arrives on labour ward smiling, reporting ‘just a bit of pressure in her bottom’ then its gloves at the ready – she might just be about to give birth! It’s true that some hypnobirthing mums can seem too calm to be in full blown labour, they surprise us by breathing out a 9lb baby with seemingly little effort, their calm demeanour can fool even the most experienced of midwives!!
Women eating their placenta following the birth is not exactly a new fad but placenta encapsulation is. With placenta encapsulation the placenta is steamed, dehydrated, ground and placed into pills for women to ingest post birth. This trend has recently grown in popularity thanks to the number of celebrities opting to do this, the latest being Coleen Rooney! It’s believed that these ‘magic pills’ can reduce post birth bleeding, ward off postnatal depression, improve the appearance of skin/hair/nails, and encourage a healthy milk supply. However there is little scientific research to prove these health benefits. Women choosing to have their placenta encapsulated are strongly advised to contact a trained specialist such as those registered with IPEN.
Some mums giving birth by caesarean section are choosing to smear their newborns mouth, face and body with a swab soaked in their vaginal secretions, a trend known as ‘vaginal seeding’. It’s all about the microbiome! There is evidence to suggest that babies born by caesarean section appear to be at increased risk of illnesses such as asthma, allergies and food intolerances in later life compared to babies born vaginally and it’s believed that the lack of exposure to the bacteria present in the mother’s vagina at birth may have a pivotal role to play.
How it works – a sterile gauze is folded into a fan, moistened with sterile water, then inserted into the vagina and left to ‘colonise’ for one hour. The gauze is then removed and put into a sealed bag until birth when the swab can be wiped over the baby’s face and body to mimic the passage through the birth canal.
Although scientists are understanding more about the impact that the microbiome plays in human health, there is currently no scientific evidence to prove that vaginal seeding at birth is effective and mums should be aware that some bacteria in the vagina can occasionally cause illness in newborns. We’ll be hearing the word microbiome more in the future, it’s a case of watch this space….!
A natural caesarean is similar to the ‘bog standard’ caesarean section but with a slight twist. The ‘twist’ involves a slower, more natural delivery of the baby through the abdomen. How it works – An incision is made to the mother’s abdomen for the doctors to ease the baby’s head out, the screen is then dropped to allow the parents to watch as their baby wriggles its way into the world. The baby can remain in the womb for up to 4 minutes after the head is born, it is then guided onto the mother’s chest for immediate skin to skin contact with the cord still intact to allow optimal cord clamping. Mother’s are able to feel more involved during this special moment of ‘giving birth’ and trials are currently under way to determine whether a natural caesarean would benefit mums and newborns compared to the standard procedure. Read this mum’s story of her natural cesarean.
When it comes to giving birth it’s not one size fits all. As with clothing fashions what appeals to one person might not be to another person’s taste, so it’s great that women have choices. It’s crucial that women are involved in making decisions about how they bring their babies into the world to shape their birth experience by the use of research findings and what’s right for them.