Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Learning Never Stops

Happy May! I meant to post more than I did in April, but the end of my semester completely overwhelmed all my time! The good news is that I've been doing a lot of doula prenatal visits for my clients who are due this month and next month. Prenatal visits are so great! I love talking birth. This is why I should really become a childbirth educator, so I can just talk birth all the time.

In one of my recent prenatal visits my client taught me a few new things. First, she pointed out that the longer she is pregnant, the more her fundal height matches her gestation length! Fundal height is measured from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the fundus which is the top part of your uterus (the highest part of your baby bump, under the breasts) Fundal height is measured in cm, gestation length in weeks. So, for example, when she was 25 wks 5 days, her fundal height was 26 cm, and when she was 30 weeks, her fundal height was 30 cm! I had no idea that this occurred, but it is so cool. Unfortunately, it's not an exact science, but it does give a good indication of fetal growth. If for some reason the measurement was not as expected, an ultrasound may be useful!

The second thing, which I have been exploring a bit more on my own, is that she wants to drink at least a pint of very strongly brewed red raspberry leaf tea once she is in labor. It is known that raspberry tea has an effect on the uterus, by relaxing the smooth muscles while it is contracting, and many women drink it late in pregnancy to "prepare" their uterus for labor by toning and strengthening it. Anecdotally, women have said that it can ease labor or even make it shorter. This is why my client wants to try it. She has heard that just drinking it leading up to labor is not enough; some women have noted that when they downed a large amount of it in early labor that their labors were shorter. Since there have been no noted side effects for the woman or the baby with raspberry leaf tea late in pregnancy, we all agreed she can go ahead and try it if she likes! So, I will let you know how that goes ;)  When I asked some doulas on twitter what they thought about this, many different responses came up. Some said red raspberry leaf tea is good to get contractions going, some said it can slow them out and make them more regular, that it strengthens contractions, and that she shouldn't be disappointed if it doesn't work exactly as she was hoping. What do you think? Do you have any experience with raspberry tea for labor? Would you try this method? 

Additional good news is that next week I'll be doing the Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) training. Has anyone taken that before? I am wondering what CLC's go on to do after they become certified. In addition to working with a local non-profit that supports breastfeeding, or just adding it to my doula services repertoire, what else can I do with my CLC? Do CLC's do independent work that they charge for? Do you run peer support groups, La Leche League style?

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