Do you know enough about inductions? How to recognise jaundice? When to get vitamin K? or how long lochia lasts after birth? Let's dive in...
A full term pregnancy usually starts on its own between 37-42 weeks. But for some people, their labour might need to be started artificially. This is called induction.
Induction may be recommended for:
Synthetic oxytocin is commonly used to initiate labour. Other methods include; a ‘stretch and sweep’ (stimulating the cervix), artificial rupture of the membranes (breaking the waters), prostaglandin gel inserted into the vagina or a balloon catheter.
If labour is induced, the mother-to-be and her baby will need to be closely monitored to see how they handle the intervention. Many choose to have pain relief as well because an induced labour can be more painful than labour that has started on its own.
For women that are ready to go into labour, there are natural alternatives that can help ‘get things going’. It is a good idea to talk to a herbalist or acupuncturist to ask how they may assist your body to be naturally ready for labour. There are also many ‘home remedies’ that can naturally induce labour if your body and baby are ready. These include; spicy foods, nipple stimulation, sex, relaxing massages, acupressure, homeopathics and herbal remedies.
Many babies develop jaundice in the early days after birth. It is caused by high levels of bilirubin in the blood. A baby with jaundice develops a yellow tinge to their their skin or eyes.
In newborns, jaundice will most likely clear up on its own with regular feeds (every 2-3 hours). If your baby seems extra tired, isn’t feeding well or develops a fever please call your doctor or midwife.
Treatment for jaundice usually includes phototherapy where the baby can be put under a blue light to help with the breakdown of bilirubin. Sunlight also helps with this process, so for mild jaundice, babies can be brought near a well-lit window to receive filtered sunshine on their skin for small periods of time.
Vitamin K is a fat soluble substance that is necessary for our bodies to be able to clot blood. Babies are born with relatively low levels of vitamin K. There is a rare disease called vitamin K deficiency bleeding or VKDB that effects around 1 in 11 000 newborn babies.
This is why, at the time of birth, parents will be given the opportunity for their baby to receive vitamin K as a prophylactic to lower the risk of the baby having VKDB.
It can be given as a single injection or multiple times orally. If giving the oral dose, it will need to be administered three times (once within hours of birth, once around 5 days old and once around 4 weeks old). As vitamin K is fat soluble it is important that baby’s receive the oral dose with a feed to help with proper absorption.
There are many decisions to make when having a baby and as with all other areas of pregnancy, birth and parenting, it’s good to know the options and make a choice that feels best for you and your family.
Despite whether a woman births vaginally or via cesarean, she will have postpartum bleeding (called lochia) for up to six-to-eight weeks after the birth.
Lochia begins as bright red blood and then changes to brownish, pink and eventually yellow-white. There can also be blood clots. The length of time that bleeding continues varies for each woman. In the beginning, when bleeding is heavier, maternity pads are a good idea. To reduce the likelihood of infection, don’t use tampons for at least six weeks after the birth.
Try to get as much rest as you can. If you're doing too much, you may bleed longer or start bleeding again after your lochia has already lightened or gone away. This is a sign to slow down and rest.
Call your midwife or doctor if you develop the following symptoms, as you may have an infection:
Hopefully you now feel more knowledgeable about some of these pregnancy and birth terms. Make sure you have downloaded the natural birth checklist so that you can feel more confident about your birth plan.
Download this free natural birth checklist that covers practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor. Start feeling more confident about your birth plan.