Posted by: babybumper | March 2, 2011

Water Break: Rupture of Membranes

“When will the doctor come and break my water?”
“Really, I am in labor? But my water didn’t break!”
“Why am I still leaking?”
“My water never breaks on its own, the doctor always has to do it.”
“Does it hurt when your water breaks?”
“Is my baby ok even though my water broke?”
“I think my water broke, should I go to the hospital?”

Although most people know that “water breaks” before a baby is born, that may be all that most people know! Questions abound about this Breaking of Water.

What will it feel like when my water is broken?

Different women have different sensations when the water breaks; I have heard many descriptions:

“I felt a pop, then a big gush of fluid.”
“I stood up, and felt a little trickle, then I took a few steps, and it trickled some more.”
“I thought maybe I peed on myself, but then it kept coming.”
“It was a lot more liquid then I expected!!”

Where does the water come from?

Actually, it is the baby’s urine (eww). So the water keeps coming, as the baby pees (and you know babies pee often!). So if your water breaks, it will continue to leak until you deliver. This is a great thing to keep in mind if you wonder if your water is broken. If it is, you will continue to leak, when you cough, or move around.

When does the water usually break?

In 90% of labors, contractions begin and labor starts before the water is broken. Normally, the “water will break” far along in labor, near 10 cm. Keeping the water balloon whole for that long actually has a purpose!

The Purpose of the Water

The next few posts I want to prove to you that the water is not in the way of a baby being born, it is actually there to help the baby birth safely. It should not, therefore, be viewed as an obstacle, but a helpful aid in achieving an optimal delivery. Artificial Rupture of Membranes, aka, someone breaking your water, is not usually beneficial to a healthy delivery. The water helps in 3 main ways:

  1. a cushion to protect the baby from physical harm
  2. a barrier from bacteria to prevent infection
  3. a cushion to decrease painful sensations for mom

I am curious, what tales have you heard about water breaking? Any old-wives’ tales? Any great stories? Any common questions or misconceptions?

Posted by: babybumper | January 4, 2011

Mom & Baby Separated, Preventable Causes

A sad story, overheard at work.

By Nico

A mother gave birth to a beautiful little girl, 5# 7oz. After birth, because she was so small, the little girl had difficulty keeping warm, although they kept her bundled in warm blankets. One hour after birth, a nurse checked the little girl’s blood sugar, as babies this small sometimes have trouble keeping their blood sugar regulated. It was too low.

The baby girl was taken away from her mother to go to a Special Nursery. The nurse explained the baby will need some Formula to help her blood sugar get back up. The mother said, “But I am breastfeeding. No one said anything about feeding her.” By this time it was too late. The baby was taken away to be given formula. And the parents were rightfully upset.

This story made me mad and sad. It probably could have been prevented. If the baby had been held skin-to-skin with mom, she would have an easier time staying warm. By sharing in her mother’s warmth, the little girl would conserve her own energy, thus keeping her blood sugar up. She also probably would have been ready to breastfeed, giving her blood sugar a boost, and energy to stay warm.

Although this little girl probably will grow healthy and strong, receiving formula from a bottle so early can be devastating to breastfeeding. The family also went through unnecessary stress, and their only 1 hour old little girl was taken away during a precious bonding time.

Carefully plan your time after birth!

Posted by: babybumper | December 15, 2010

Surgical After Birth: Welcoming Baby after a C-Section

Birth surgery comes with its own set of complications after delivery. With special thought and planning, you can still provide a welcoming environment for the newborn. The first obstacle is the inaccessibility of the mother directly after birth. The baby is out, ready to bond, but the mother remains on the Operating Table, and is draped to provide a sterile environment. She is not situated for easy contact. Skin-to-skin contact is still the best way to provide the optimal environment for a newborn. Mom can provide this after a Birth by Surgery. Some hospitals successfully provide opportunity for maternal skin-to-skin contact, with great success and health benefits for both mom and baby. My hospital is not there yet; they wouldn’t think of it. If parents were insistent, I’d like to believe we would support and assist a mother to hold her baby skin-to-skin. Like in this story (complete with a video showing skin-to-skin contact directly after a C-Section). It may take some determined parents to get my hospital to that rational point.  Please be THOSE people!!!

Father's Touch

If skin-to-skin contact is not possible for the mother, dad (or another caring person) can act as an important substitute. When a dad cuddles his baby skin-to-skin, the baby benefits similarly than with mom. Babies are calmer, and still exhibit early hunger cues, which will be important for later on, when the mother is available. In a cool article, the author postulates that the infant learns nursing reflexes from being skin-to-skin. “This makes the child fully prepared for the first breastfeeding when being reunited with the mother.” Skin-to-skin contact can be done without a bare chest for the world to see. With assistance, the baby can be placed inside a shirt, with his head through the neck hole. Or the dad can easily obtain a large blanket to wrap about himself and the child.

Father's Touch by Matt & Janet

Skin-to-skin contact provides ample inspiration for all of the senses (except only the mom can provide the right smell & taste!!). If this kind of contact is IMPOSSIBLE, use your creativity to feed the senses via alternate routes.

Hearing: Singing, speaking, cooing, babbling, etc.
Sight: Hold face-to-face closely. The baby can be held up by the mother’s face, ensure their faces match, and are not upside-down to one another.
Touch: Stroke, rub, pat, hug, hold, and massage.

Fatigue by Kelly Sue

After a C-section, out of the OR, mom’s are often exhausted. They just had major abdominal surgery. They receive a lot of sedating medication. Even in this trying time, skin-to-skin contact can feel so good. When mom cradles the baby to her skin, hormones that promote relaxing, calmness, and tenderness are released. Help her get in a comfortable position where she can relax and clutch the baby at the same time. The baby missed out from being born via surgery and not vaginally, but Skin-to-skin contact can help the baby recover what was lost. When the little guy is showing signs of hunger, get help breastfeeding in a way that is comfortable. Two Breastfeeding positions are crucial to learn for mom’s comfort after surgery: the football hold, and lying down. Do whatever works directly after surgery while you are still numb, but after getting in a good bed, focus on learning those 2 positions while there is someone still around to teach! Whatever position you choose, keep in mind these Latching Principles!

Strength by Kelly Sue

Surgery is not the ideal way to birth a baby. Through creativity and boldness, however, you can still create an environment where a baby can transition from the womb to the world and feel safe, secure, and treasured.

Posted by: babybumper | December 6, 2010

Just Wait: Severing the Pulsing Cord

Hello World by Oskay

There is a link between 2 worlds. At the dawn of birth, the baby is suspended between life in the womb to life in the world via the umbilical cord. This cord remains a connection between a place of free provision and a place of requirement. A channel joining the realm of mom’s lungs and child’s lungs.

The cord pulses until the baby has safely passed between worlds.

Welcome to Our World by chronic shock

As the newborn springs forth into the big world, mom’s contractions continue, pumping blood full of oxygen through the cord to the bambino. Between contractions, some blood is send back to the placenta. If the link remains undisturbed, the youngster can regulate how much blood is needed. This 2 ways street, that is the umbilical cord, results in the optimal amount of blood volume every time.

When a cord is clamped immediately at the dawn of life, the young one looses 1/3 of his blood, trapped in the placenta. In an adult this serious amount of blood loss is classified severe hemorrhage, at about 3.3 pints respectively. Not only does this result in blood depletion, but also requires the newborn to supply his own oxygen immediately, or else.

Cries by Tom Higgins

When a little one is born, what is the first sound you want to hear? Crying. Baby’s first cry is music and relief to all in the room. When a newborn cries, we know oxygen is moving in and out of the lungs. Silence at birth is frightening. When a tiny one is quiet, are they getting enough oxygen? If they don’t breathe soon enough, we fear long term consequences.

“Amputating a functioning placenta destroys the organ that is keeping the child alive and is preparing the child for life outside the womb.” –Dr. George M. Morley

If the cord remains connected, the silent child will continue to receive oxygen-rich blood from mom, while sending back wastes too her, just like in the womb. This link can be life saving for the tiny tot who does not immediately breathe. Crying actually slows the flow of blood from the placenta. Therefore, the cord of the newborn who adjusts quickly to life outside the womb may stop pulsing sooner than the cord of the bambino who has difficulty.

What a great means for resuscitation! Providing oxygen-rich blood, with a pathway for removing wastes (like Carbon Dioxide), and a system for volume regulation is astounding. Continuing the provision of mom while challenging the newborn to sustain life is ingenious and essential! In some ways the cord remains as a safety mechanism. If the little guy doesn’t get enough oxygen through his lungs, mom is still there to help. If outside medical help is necessary, it will be more effective if the channel remains intact.

Pretty Pink by Salim Fadhley

As a parent, how can you ensure your child’s passage between worlds is aided by a connected cord? This is difficult. Asking your provider to “delay cord clamping” may have some value, but if this is not routine, they may not grant your request when the time comes. It is most important to choose the right health care provider. Make it your ambition to select a Birth Attendant who is confident in the natural process of birth. Waiting until the cord stops pulsing usually only takes 3 minutes or so, but some doctors are so focused on speed that they clamp within 10-30 seconds after birth. Pick someone who doesn’t seem rushed, and will take time for you.

Sadly, the medical field at large has not caught on to the magnitude of this link between two worlds. The baby who most needs this connection to transition between realms is the one most likely to have this cord severed quickly. I hope to see a transformation to viewing a cord connection as our greatest resuscitation asset, and a routine in care for every child after birth.


I am grateful to Dr. Sarah Buckley who expounded on the importance of this issue beautifully in the interesting book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering.

For a heavy article on Delayed Cord Clamping, see Dr. George M. Morley’s work here.

Posted by: babybumper | December 1, 2010

Delayed cord clamping leads to routine blood transfusion

Blood Drop by Abhishek Jacob

Swish, swish, swish, swish; throughout pregnancy the umbilical cord steadily carries oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the tiny tot. This connection is the wee-bit’s life-line. Rapidly after birth, the cord bestows one last contribution, essentially a blood transfusion, provided to aid in a seamless transformation of the baby’s blood circulation.

Before birth, within the comfort of the womb the placenta functions as the baby’s lungs, kidneys, liver, gut and skin. This enables the young one’s blood to focus where most needed: the brain and heart. In a flash, after birth, the infant suddenly must fend for himself. The demands for blood increase, and mom aids in this modification. Put on the spot, all organs must work effectively to support the child’s life. Thankfully, the life-giving link, the umbilical cord, remains for the moment of transformation.

Transformation by Rabble

After the great upheaval of birth, the umbilical cord, faithful in service, continues connecting the placenta to the kiddo. In those first critical moments, strong contractions administer a specialized blood transfusion. Unlike a typical blood transfusion, this gift contains the baby’s own blood, already full of oxygen and nutrients (supplied by mom). This vital fluid serves to aid in the modification of the blood circulation for the youngster. Therefore the previously unused but now essential organs: lungs, kidneys, liver, gut, and skin are primed for service.

The blood supply for the “lesser organs” can be locked into the placenta through clamping the cord. If the umbilical cord is pulsing, then the Special Transfusion is being delivered. The baby will be deprived of a momentous aid to the transformation from dependency to independence if the cord is clamped prematurely. As the infant undergoes a metamorphosis, the umbilical cord remains a supply line of nutrients and oxygen, pumping the babe full, giving him the best start on his journey toward independence.

Cord by Drcorneilus

Posted by: babybumper | November 16, 2010

Placenta Pollution: What can the Placenta filter?

Crystal Clear By lrargerich

Part 2 of the The Lazy Fisherman story…

This morning the Lazy Fisherman had a good haul from the Placenta Pond. As the Lazy Fisherman hooks a variety of fish from the Need List, he deliberately examines each fish for pollutants and disease. His trained eye recognizes Fish affected by Bacteria, preventing the Baby Boss from consuming them. The pond’s filtration system aids in offering only the finest, cleanest produce.  Unbeknownst to all, however, today sneaky pollution had seeped into the the water, and some of the Fish were affected. Fish affected by the pollutants of Alcohol, Pain medicine, and Cigarette smoke are not easily recognized, and so may be inadvertently fed to Baby Boss.

Polluted Pond By Seattle Municipal Archives

Although the Placenta Barrier is amazing, and can protect the baby from Bacteria and some viruses, teeny-tiny particles can slip through. The Placenta is unable to filter toxiplasmosis, a parasite in cat litter, viruses like rubella and herpes, and drugs or chemicals. Certain levels of alcohol has been shown to have disastrous effects on a child’s wellbeing. Pain medicine administered in the Epidural space and through an IV are quickly present in the baby’s blood stream. Cigarette smoke vastly changes the development of a child. Even just visualizing the placenta of a smoking mother reveals a weaker, thinner placenta, and so grows a weaker, lower-birth weight child. Mom must dodge what slips through the placenta barrier. Avoiding these things ensures a crystal clear, clean Placenta Pond for your baby to farm.

Clean Beach By mynameisharsha

Baby Boss praised the Lazy Fisherman for his harvest. He sent him back to the pond, but not empty handed. Cleverly, Baby filled up the boat first with waste. The pond has a high-efficiency filtering system, a perfect place to dump Carbon Dioxide, Extra Heat, and Old Rundown Cells! So the Lazy Fisherman heads back to the Placenta Pond, to discard garbage, and bait the next round of fish on from the Need List.

Shrewdly, the baby trades wastes for nutrients via the placenta. This transfer keeps a light load on his kidneys and liver — organs that are still immature. During pregnancy, you pee for 2! As the baby is warmly encased in the womb, if ever he get too warm, he will send it your way via the placenta, thus giving you a Hot Flash! Not only do you provide a pool brimming with vitality, you also receive your child’s wastes, and use your own kidneys and liver to filter and detoxify.

Via the placenta, mom acts as Lungs, Liver, Kidneys, and Intestines for her unborn child. All without one thought! The Precision of this Placenta Pond designed to grow a human from 2 cells, independent of human meddling, astounds me!

Pequeno Pescador By Rodolfo Nunez

There are 3 mechanisms fighting for a Crystal Clear Placenta Pond:

  1. Mom ducks away from things she knows may pollute the placenta.
  2. The baby dumps wastes into the placenta, and the mom uses her mature organs to detoxify and cleanse these wastes.
  3. The Placenta acts as a barricade to bacteria and some viruses.
Posted by: babybumper | November 15, 2010

Placenta Pond: Providing nutrients in Pregnancy

In some ways, the placenta works like fishing in a stocked pond. The mom provides the pond. This bay of blood brims full of everything essential for the baby’s growth, development, and survival. The baby gathers necessary elements from this supply, as this story illustrates…

By oneillci

Early in the morning mist, a Lazy Fisherman paddles through this peaceful bay, nicknamed “Placenta Pond”. This is the Lazy Fisherman’s favorite fishing pond. Because the water richly splashes with the vitality of organisms, he knows he will pack his boat full almost every time he visits. This is fortunate, for he is employed by an industrious boss, called Baby. Each trip, Boss Baby gives the Lazy Fisherman a “Need List” of fish he wants for that day. Today’s fish: Oxygen, Glucose, and Proteins are all to be reeled in. So the Lazy Fisherman performs his craft, filling up his boat with the items on the list, and then travels back to Boss Baby.

By Chrissy Olson

In the placenta, mom provides little ponds of blood accessible to the baby, called “intervillous spaces.” These are full of nutrients and oxygen, supplying the baby with the variety of things necessary for growth, development, and survival. The baby takes what he needs, and leaves the rest for the mother.

The fetus is an efficient and demanding parasite. -Williams Obstetrics

Plethora by ezioman

Certain elements the baby actively baits and others he throws a net and just gets whatever is in the pond. Mom’s choices can impact what is available to her baby. Instead of “eating for 2,” endeavor to stock a tiny pond full of an assortment of healthy elements your baby can choose from. Focus on whole foods that don’t need a nutrition label. Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, and protein, and ensuring a good level of Vitamins and Minerals guarantees the baby can reel in critical daily nutrients and grow up to be a Little Fisherman.

by NCBrian

More of the story to come…

Posted by: babybumper | November 11, 2010

Placenta Spaceship: What does the Placenta do?

My husband speaks with horror about the time he had to watch a video of a woman give birth in a first aid class (his teacher was crazy). His synopsis,

“First came the alien; then came his spaceship!”

This Spaceship, also known as the Placenta or Afterbirth is the only vital but disposable organ. You cannot have a healthy baby without a healthy placenta! This lifeline has many crucial functions, which I will explore in upcoming posts:

  • Transportation
  • Protection
  • Hormone secretion
  • Communication

Doctor Oz produced an interesting segment on the placenta. It serves as a beneficial introduction to this fascinating organ. Warning: placenta pictures follow the video.

As Doctor Oz says, the placenta is the ultimate life support machine. It provides an interface between the mother and the baby. The placenta is much more than a heart/lung machine. This vital organ also acts as the kidneys, liver, and intestines of the unborn child. Immune factors are also passed on to the baby. The placentas he displayed were old, dried out, and preserved. The organs I see at work are beautiful fresh and vibrant, more like this one:


Fresh Blue Placenta by rkimpeljr


I disagree with Dr. Oz explanation of a seemingly “sticky placenta” which has to be pulled on in order to separate, and be born. He said, “the placenta won’t come off by itself.”  This may be true for a c-section, but not a vaginal delivery. I will address this issue later, but suffice it to say, just as it is safer for a baby to be pushed out of the womb, not pulled, the mother can easily push the placenta out without assistance.


Red Placenta by rabble


I have become fascinated over the precision of the placenta; meticulousness that medicine is far from achieving. I can’t wait to share these things with you!! The Creator of both the “alien” and the “spaceship” designed a disposable but critical life-sustaining, life-growing organ for the unborn child.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 130:13-17


Fearfully Made by Emery Co Photo


Posted by: babybumper | November 1, 2010

Assertiveness for After Birth Bliss

The baby exits the birth canal. Parents are stunned and ecstatic. The baby is placed on the mother’s bare abdomen and the love is instant. The cord is cut. The next 2 hours are spent cuddling, skin-to-skin, where the baby gazes at a loving face full of smiles. The newborn hears soft coos from family he has grown accustomed to in the womb. He smells the sweets smell of mother’s milk, and initiates breastfeeding, his new favorite activity. Ahh, Baby-Bliss! The bambino will enjoy this Sensory Set up for months to come. This is the ideal situation after a child enters a big world. How can you make the most of this special time?

Big World

Communicate your wishes
Ensuring this harmonious environment may not be the standard where you give birth, nor may it be the expectation from excited family members! Where I work, many nurses are still accustomed to receiving a baby to a blanket, and keeping that baby bundled, although scientific evidence boasts the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. Imagine the inhibition of valuable stimulation when the baby is bundled! These same nurses are helpful when the parents request skin-to-skin contact. This wish will need to be communicated repetitively: during labor, immediately before birth, and any time someone wants to move the baby.

Nurse: “I would like to weigh the baby now.”
Dad: “Could we please wait an hour or two? I don’t think the weight will change that much!”

Nurse: “I would like to take the baby to the warmer to give a Vitamin K injection.”
Mom: “Could you do that while I hold the baby?”

Nurse: “Why don’t I send the baby to the nursery for her bath?”
Mom: “I am enjoying her too much to give her up! Let’s wait until she is done eating.”

Sometimes moving the baby may be medically necessary. Usually it is only convenient. As a parent, you don’t know unless you ask!

Trouble in Paradise
Plan to avoid some of the common pitfalls to creating After Birth Bliss.

Eye Ointment- An goopy antibiotic ointment is place in the eyes of almost every hospital born baby to prevent blindness from gonorrhea. This routine practice can be refused by parents (as they are always the top authority on what is best for their child), or can be delayed by 1 hour and then administered while the mom holds the baby. During the special 1st hour of life, imagine the difference of visual experience of a baby seeing through goop, compared to viewing his family with crystal clear vision! Delaying eye ointment administration presents no risk for the baby and is consistent with commonsense, but is not routinely practiced at my hospital. Simply requesting this delay (or expressing the choice to withhold it altogether after careful research) will keep cloudy vision from Baby’s Sunny Paradise.

Friends and Family

Friends & Family- What a blessed child to have a waiting room of supporters! It takes a village to raise a child! While I want to always extol the message of care the gesture of being there represents, I have seen many a baby taken out of Bliss by well-wishers!! The pressure of, “There are so many people that have waited so long to see her” can delay breastfeeding and bonding. Many friends falsely assume that as soon as the birth is over, they will be right back to the room to gawk at the tiny precious one. Although all support is appreciated, hindering the baby from eating and bonding in the first 2 hours after birth is treacherous! Instead, channel this support to a tangible form that is helpful instead of unintentionally hurtful! Explain:

“The first 2 hours of our baby’s life we are set aside for a special bonding time for our family! Why don’t you come the next day to see the little guy!”

Or even better:

“We have heard that time slips by so fast, so we are going to try to spend as much of the first few days bonding together as a family. Bring us dinner this week so we can see you and you meet our bundle of joy!”

God created a unique time contained in the 1st two hours after birth. Guard this priceless chance for bonding, and you will experience After Birth Bliss to the fullest.

What are some other pitfalls to setting aside that special time? Any tips to ensure Baby Bliss? What about when the situation is not ideal? This is what I will address next post, and I would love your input!

Posted by: babybumper | October 27, 2010

After Birth Sense

I love the moments after birth. The mother examines the child for the first time. The child examines the mother for the first time. The newborn’s gaze is piercing, unrestrained, uninhibited. The first 2 hours after birth the babe is remarkably alert, more so than the next couple of days. What a beautiful time of bonding! Plan to seize this distinctive time, or else these treasured moments will slip away silently.

Respond to Your Child’s Attentiveness

Your miniature yearns to get to know you. Seize this opportunity and stimulate each of the 5 senses.

Sight by Gregory Rallen

Sight– At birth it is estimated that the newborn can see 8-10 inches away. This is the distance from mom’s face when breastfeeding. As your bambino is particularly perceptive at this time, let him gaze at a smiling face. Babies enjoy looking at human faces more than anything.

Hearing– The unborn baby hears moms voice for 9 months. If dad speaks around or to the baby while in the womb, the little one also recognizes his voice outside the womb. It is amazing how much a child learns before birth. If a child in the womb hears a story repetitively, they will prefer that story after birth! Your voice is music to your kiddo’s ears. The baby is also comforted by a beating heart, as he has listened to this rhythm for as long as he can remember.

One of my sweetest on-the-job memories is after a C-Section. Still in the OR, I heard a soft, beautiful sound. Of course, everyone had surgical masks on, but I realized that as a father held his brand-new daughter, he was singing to her. What a beautiful statement of love encircled by the mundane medical tasks surrounding a surgical birth.

Skin-to-Skin by Eric Ward

Smell– Babies distinguish between odors better than adults. When presented with 2 pads soaked in breast milk, the newborn will turn toward his own mother’s milk. The sweetest fragrance to an infant is mama’s milk. Skin-to-skin contact with mom provides the best stimulation for this sense.

Taste– Likewise, the most delicious taste for the newborn is mom’s milk. Providing unlimited access to the breast during the 1st two hours after birth captures the time the baby eats the best. Breastfeeding in this timeframe is essential for proper milk production. This precious after birth time period is particularly well suited and imperative for learning to eat.

Touch by Ben Grey

Touch– The best touch a baby can feel from birth is not silky smooth, nor fuzzy soft, nor warm flannel, but skin. Skin-to-skin contact accelerates neurological development, provides comfort, and warmth. Babies do not thrive without being snuggled against something. They even prefer to touch the sidewall of a crib then being left in alone the middle. Imagine what they are accustomed to! Enveloped in the warmth of mom’s body. After birth, the best way to give touch is through skin-to-skin contact.

What is your dearest memory from sensory stimulation of your newborn child? Does that gaze still piece your thoughts? Did your child cling to your every word? Any special song still surge through your memories? What about the softness of that new baby-skin? What still stands out during the first 2 hour after birth? Do tell!

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