Birth Boot Camp® Natural Childbirth Education Classes – Online and Instructor-

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Birth Boot Camp® Natural Childbirth Education Classes - Online and Instructor-

Can I still have a natural birth if I am over 35?

Women are often considered of an advanced maternal age if they are delivering their baby after their 35th birthday.  While there is some increased risk in pregnancy and birth over 35, most women can look forward to a wonderful and positive birth experience.  

Does being 35 make me high risk?

While some research concerning birthing of 35 does show increased problems, the truth is much less clear cut.  Actually, for older women there are many things that are not a higher risk for them.

In fact, one large study done in 2005 found:

“No statistically significant differences were noted among the groups [of various aged women] for threatened abortion, gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia, preterm labor, preterm PROM, and assisted vaginal delivery.” ¹

According to this study, many of the things that women over 35 worry about, such as gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia, are, actually, not statistically more likely for them.  This knowledge alone can make a woman feel much less fearful and more capable of achieving the birth she wants. 

The researchers go on to say that:

“In summary, the majority of women of advanced maternal age deliver at term without maternal or perinatal adverse outcomes.” ¹

One thing that does appear to be more likely as a birthing woman gets older is the risk of stillbirth.  Even this risk, though, when examined carefully is still incredibly low in developed countries.  This review of numerous studies found that:

“However, the absolute increase in risk was relatively small in studies from developed countries, with crude odds ratios varying from 1.20 to 2.23 on top of baseline stillbirth rates varying from 1.55 to 17.89 per 1000 total births” ³

Even though there is a small increase in stillbirth, it is still very low even for women considered to be of “advanced maternal age.” 

Chromosomal abnormalities also show some increase as a woman gets older, but this alone shouldn’t preclude a natural birth. 6, 7

Why are women 35 and older experiencing more cesarean sections?

Women, who happen to be 35 or older at the time of delivery, have higher rates of cesarean section birth.  In fact, women of this age or older are actually three times more likely to deliver by scheduled c-section.²

Researchers point out that women of this age may simply be birthing surgically more often due to their age alone (and not need), despite the relative safety of natural or vaginal birth.  

“Nonetheless, maternal age alone may be a factor influencing physician decision making.  It is uncertain whether the increased rates of cesarean delivery are due to a real increase in the prevalence of obstetric complications or whether there is a component of iatrogenic intervention secondary to both physician and patient attitudes toward pregnancy in this older patient population.” ¹

In essence, the researchers believe that it may be the attitudes of the physician and the patient regarding maternal age that increased these surgical births, not necessarily need.  (Iatrogenic refers to an intervention or illness caused by medical treatment.)  In fact, some studies found that the increased “surveillance” of these older mothers may even cause iatrogenic prematurity or babies born too early due to medical induction.² 

How can I increase my chances of natural birth if I am over 35?

Just because you are over 35 doesn’t mean you can’t have a great natural birth!  Research shows that this is true. 

“…most will achieve a successful pregnancy outcome. Best outcomes appear to be linked to pre-existing maternal health, and pregnancy care at tertiary centers may also contribute.”

Being healthy before you get pregnant, no matter your age, can improve outcome and possibly increase your chance of having the birth you want.  For example, one common risk for older women is gestational diabetes.  Gestational diabetes however has other risk factors independent of maternal age that contribute to it, including pre-pregnancy weight, health, and nutrition before and during pregnancy.  Another risk factor for women over 35 is chronic hypertension, but research shows that advanced age alone is not responsible for these complications.  Simply having a healthy blood pressure pre-pregnancy can be helpful. ¹

Leading medical groups point out that simple choices, such as eating well, exercising, and getting prenatal care, can be helpful in creating a healthy pregnancy over 35 or at any age.  If you desire a natural birth, a comprehensive natural birth class will prepare you best.  Look for one that includes instruction on both staying low risk and navigating common hospital procedures and testing.  These issues are especially relevant to women over 35 who are often encouraged to test excessively.

Can a woman over 35 achieve a natural birth?  The answer to this question is a resounding yes.  Being healthy, educated and aware can help you get what you want from the birth process.  Are there some risks to birthing over 35?  Yes.  But many of them can be minimized with a healthy lifestyle or do not prevent a natural birth. 

 

 

References

1. Cleary-Goldman J, et al. Impact of maternal age on obstetric outcome. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2005;105:983.  (If you would like to view this entire study, copy and paste the entire title into your search bar.)

2. Advanced maternal age and pregnancy outcome (British)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577849/

3.  Maternal age and risk of stillbirth: a systematic review

Ling Huang, MD MSc, Reg Sauve, MD MPH, [...], and Carl van Walraven, MD MSc

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2175002/

4. Very advanced maternal age

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3637179/#!po=1.42857V

 5.  Midwifery. 2011 Dec;27(6):793-801. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2010.07.006. Epub 2010 Oct 2.

Obstet Gynecol. 1981 Sep;58(3):282-5.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20888095

6.  Rates of chromosome abnormalities at different maternal ages.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6455611

7.  Table, Down Syndrome rates by maternal age

http://www.mothers35plus.co.uk/down.htm

8.  Very advanced maternal age

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23159159

9.  Mayo Clinic

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy/PR00115/NSECTIONGROUP=2

Announcing Your Pregnancy

The coming of a new baby is a wonderful thing.  Now with the benefits of social media, there are as many ways to announce the beginning of your newest adventure as there are types of personalities.  Here are a few cute (or fun or creative or just plain silly!) ways to share your joy with the ones you love. 

We would love to hear your ideas too.  Leave them in the comments!

~A darling way to announce a new baby- the tiny coffee cup with the expected due month on it! 

 

~If you have older children, have them each hold a chalkboard with their birth order marked on it.  For example, the oldest would hold a chalkboard with “#1” on it and the so on and at the end of a the picture would be a chalkboard sitting by itself, with the appropriate number for the newest family member.  This also works beautifully for a first baby, as shown below.  This couple used their simple initials in a heart for this tender announcement.

~Print a puzzle with a picture on it announcing the new baby for family to put together.  (This one works great as a Christmas or birthday present.)

 

~Address a card to each family member with an enclosed “letter from the baby” announcing their coming birth. 

 

~Take pictures of the entire families shoes lined up.  Mom, Dad, older siblings if applicable, and lastly some tiny baby shoes!  This one is great to share with social media.  Add in each member of the families birth year using photoshop for some extra fun.

~For family members give a gift with the announcement inside.  This one is especially wonderful for a long awaited baby.

 

~Make a family “movie” ending with mom and dad holding a positive pregnancy test.

~For a pregnancy announced around the time of a holiday, incorporate seasonal themes.  This family had an older sister hold eggs marked “big sis” and shared the photos with family members for Easter.

~If you have older children, a simple shirt with the words, “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” are a cute way to both announce a baby and involve the older children.  Or, if you are more creative, you can make your own shirts like the one above!

~“Bump Ahead” signs are always fun.  Have parents stand next to a “Bump Ahead” sign.  Dad points at the mommy belly, and mom points to the sign. 

 

~Give the grandparents a brag book or photo album with only the first sleeve filled- with your ultrasound picture!  Not only is this a cute way to announce a pregnancy, but it gives excited grandparents a place to document the growing of their loved one.

 

~T-shirts for extended family members, especially grandparents are a cute idea.  Just have shirts made (or find some you can buy) that say, “Grandma” or “Grandpa” on them. 

 

~A baby picture frame presented as a gift, only instead of a picture it it, have a note with the expected due date in it.

~Simple, but sends the message!  Just sharing the picture of that positive test is a great way to tell your friends about your exciting news!

 

 

 

We express gratitude to all our readers who helped with the ideas for this post.  In particular we would love to recognize some of our amazing instructors who submitted ideas and pictures.  You can find more childbirth educators online.

Dani Long – www.YourBirthAdventure.com in Washington state

Cori Gentry – www.BirthMakesSense.com in California

Joni Yankus – jyankus@birthbootcamp.com in Texas

Kendra Parry – www.BirthAsIntended.com in Utah

Rachel Johnson – www.DFWBirthClass.com in Texas



 

Rules for Talking to a Laboring Woman

Preparing for birth is a unique time in a woman’s life. Many women spend their lives looking outward, seeking to serve others. But in labor and birth a woman has the opportunity to be at the center for a brief moment, and to have those around her serve her, listen to her, and help her in any way they can.

Occasionally, however, those close to a birthing woman use it as an opportunity to fill their own needs or express their own fears to the mother or those closest to her. While it may seem obvious to most, dumping our own emotional baggage on a pregnant or birthing woman is actually inappropriate. Sadly, there are many who have missed the boat on this particular subject.

How many birthing women are surrounded by people (including family) at their birth that they didn’t even want present? How many pregnant women must listen to the horror stories of others simply because they have a round belly and are, obviously, expecting? Birth, however, is not about making those that surround a woman happy and comfortable. A great birth team seeks to make the mother and her closest loved ones happy and supported so that they and the baby can have the best experience possible both physically and emotionally.

The Goldman and Silk “Ring Theory,” as discussed in this LA Times article, explains the idea that during times of extreme stress (such as turmoil or illness) the person most affected or at the “center” has the privilege of receiving emotional support, and the ability to “dump” outward. That is, the person at the center can ask for help, and the people outside can offer.

The idea that “support goes in, needs expressed go out” doesn’t just apply to illness; it works beautifully in labor, too.

When a woman is in labor she should be at the center of the circle, the center of attention, and the person who is focused on. She can request anything from those around her. Support should always flow towards the center from the outer circles, and requests should flow outward. For example, random strangers should not act as though the birth is theirs or that their needs are more important than those of the laboring mother. The mother should not have to support her partner, doula, or family. When the focus
of support stays on the mother, the entire labor goes better and she feels safe and secure.

Remember this simple rule of birth etiquette when attending a birth. Remember, also, that very soon that laboring woman will be a mother and all of her attention will be focused outward on her precious child. We can focus our love and support on her for a few hours to help ensure that both mom and baby receive the best start possible.

Instructor Spotlight: Rachel Johnson

The backbone of Birth Boot Camp lies in our amazing instructors. Our natural birth instructors can now be found from coast to coast and more are training all the time. We love working with these wonderful women and watching them change lives through education. Today we are featuring an interview with one of our earliest trainees about what being a Birth Boot Camp Instructor means to her. (And if you can’t find an instructor close enough to you for a live, our online natural birth classes are available virtually anywhere around the world.)

What got you interested in becoming a natural childbirth educator?
During our first pregnancy we went through 10 weeks of live natural childbirth classes by Birth Boot Camp founder, Donna Ryan. She gave me and my husband accurate, up to date information. We were able to take what we had learned and decide what was best for our pregnancy and baby. We have been married for 8 years and have had three fabulous home births! These experiences inspired me to help make natural childbirth education available for everyone, because it brought reassurance and confidence for some of the most meaningful moments of my life.

There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?
I was impressed with Birth Boot Camp materials! They have created an outstanding teacher curriculum, Student Field Manual, and extensive breastfeeding DVD built on a foundation of truth and excellence. Students benefit from the treasury of information that reflect cutting edge statistics and the very best in natural childbirth education.

What most impressed you about the Birth Boot Camp training?
During instructor training I was most impressed with the way that the Birth Boot Camp Advisory Board was determined to serve us and wanted to see us succeed! The marketing training has help me beyond what I could have imagined. I love team teaching as it gave us hands on experience in the art of communicating natural birth knowledge and content to prepare us for teaching live classes. (Part of every training is an opportunity for the instructors to teach to the group.)

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?
It has been very rewarding teaching live classes and it’s going really well! I started teaching live classes almost immediately after certification, about a month later. Many couples have gone through my classes already.

Tell us a little about your students. Can you see how having a comprehensive natural childbirth education is positively impacting their birth experiences?
My students occupations range from Balloon Artist to Police Officer and everything in between. They have had births in hospitals, birth centers and at home. Several dads told me at the end of the first or second class night something like, “I thought this was going to be boring, but it turns out you make it fun and I actually look forward to class each week.” Students have made friendships that lasted beyond class and I enjoy keeping up with my students as we formed great friendships as well. One of my amazing moms said, “Our Birth Boot Camp classes really helped me achieve such a redeeming childbirth experience in-contrast with my first three births.”

We would love it if you would share (with permission) with us your favorite student birth experience so far.
Student Birth Story: Baby Axle’s Birth Story (Attachment written by my student, given with permission and pictures with permission as well!)

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education changing lives and birth in the world.
Women everywhere are becoming more aware that they have choices when it comes to having their babies. Mothers often choose to deliver naturally because they have been educated and embrace the idea that giving birth is a normal, beautiful, and physiological process.

 
 
Rachel Johnson is a Birth Boot Camp instructor in Fort Worth, Texas. She is due to have her third baby at home any day. She took her first childbirth class from Birth Boot Camp founder Donna Ryan. As a passionate teacher, she has guided many couples on their journey to a joyful, natural birth experience.
For more information about her Fort Worth natural birth classes click here.

Birth of Axle

We have the privilege today of sharing a birth story from one of our students.  We are so grateful to them for sharing such a private event with all of us and so glad that they had a great birth.  Education really does make a difference!

The Birth of Axle

I think my biggest fear about giving birth was what kind of birther I would be.  Would I be loud, scream, yell, cry, or sing?  I wasn’t afraid of the pain, and I have to give props to my Birth Boot Camp natural birth classes and my midwife for that.  I was born to give birth and I could do it!  I met a lot of women and doctors that said I was lying when I said I wasn’t afraid, but that wasn’t the case.  I was scared to have a newborn, I was scared to be a mom, but I never was scared to give birth. 

My pregnancy went well.  The first trimester was a little rough with all the morning sickness, but after changing my diet and no longer eating anything with gluten, dairy or pork everything got so much better.  I didn’t really crave much other than plums and Simply orange juice (no other brand would do).  I was with a doctor my first 16 weeks, and then transferred to a midwife once we had our gender sonogram.  I was a little nervous about this since I grew up with a PICU nurse as a mother and only thought of midwives as old fashioned.  But my husband was pretty supportive in using a midwife and after watching “The Business of Being Born” I knew it was the right choice for us.

When we first met our midwife Terry we knew that she was the one for us.  After going to a doctor for 16 weeks and only getting answers if we had questions, she poured into us that first meeting.  We learned so much, and never asked a question.  I mean, come on! We are first time parents; we have no clue what to ask.  After being with her for a few short hours, I had no doubt about leaving the doctor and had our files transferred to Edenway Birth Center. 

This was the best decision I have ever made (besides asking Christ in my heart and marrying Cody).  Edenway is a family, and we loved/love it.  I quickly learned however that a midwife or at least my midwife is a lot harder than a doctor.  I had to keep a food diary, pee on a stick that pretty much told the midwife if I lied about being good, and had to stay in a certain weight.  I had to stay active, drink tons of water, take vitamins, and eat right.  All of these are on the top of my “I Hate” list. But I did it!  I’m a walking testament that a very borderline preclampsia momma can take it all the way to deliver the natural way.  It just takes A LOT of discipline.  I didn’t start out that great, both Cody and Terry had doubts and both were Army Sargent’s getting on to me and keeping me in check.  But I was willing to do whatever needed to be done for my little man. 

So enough about the pre story, let’s get into our birth story. 

Axle Festus Scholz was 12 days late!  And even though physically I could have gone for months more (seeing a chiropractor makes all the difference!) mentally- every day I was starting to freak out a little more.  I never wanted him to be early, but never even thought he could be late.  At 10 days, I started really getting worried. I knew that on day 14 I would have to go to a doctor and no longer could legally use a midwife.  I started freaking out.  On morning of day 11 I got contractions that unfortunately went away after taking a shower.  Later that day Cody and I went to the midwife’s house and started to use a breast pump to encourage contractions (only under a midwives supervision is this ok).  We did this for about 2hours, and then we went home. 

My contractions never stopped after we left but I went to sleep like I was told…until about 10:30pm when I woke up out of dead sleep screaming!  Oh did it hurt!  But it was a slow processes.  After Cody helped me a little with the pain, I remembered that contractions on the toilet were supposed to really help (Birth Boot Camp tip) so I took my phone and blanket and headed to the bathroom.  It worked!  Between texting my midwife and a friend Paige, who also was in labor at the same time I finally decided to head to Edenway (the birth center) at 3:30am. 

From 3:45-9:30am I labored at Edenway, mostly in the bathtub which was amazing.  At first the pain was so intense I wanted to and did throw up, but it got easier the more I took deep breaths remembering that keeping my chin on my chest was the key.  Labor honestly wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but don’t get me wrong it hurt and it was hard.  I think I did pretty well for a first timer, and was mainly quiet with deep moaning when I really needed to.  I was so in my head that I never heard anyone say a word, which is pretty funny since there were 12 people in the room with me. During the birth there was about 3 times that I remember not wanting to finish. Like I had a choice!  One of the things they kept trying to do was give me sugar to help with my energy, but I kept saying “no sugar, no sugar” it sounded so gross at the time which is funny since I do love my sugar. 

I had by far the best birth team.  Cody, Terry and Melissa were amazing!  Melissa was a God send and truly was the reason I believe my birth was such a great supportive experience.  We had worship music playing in the background, and Terry knew every time I was in a place that I needed her to just pray.  Two times I remember thinking, “God, I need you” and then I would just hear Terry praying and everything in me would go calm.

Cody was a surprise, I knew he would be good but I never could have thought he would have been as helpful as we was.  In class he always joked around, never took anything really serious and truly felt as if he learned nothing from going.  But I must tell you otherwise!  He was so great at reminding me to breathe, to relax, and breathe some more.  Between him and Melissa they had battle wounds for days and neither complained. 

I mainly labored in the bathtub, with a small portion on the toilet, but then when it was decided I needed a new position I moved to the bed.  That’s when Axle came.  Cody was lying on the bed with his back on the wall and I was on all fours with my hands on Cody’s ribs and that’s how I pushed.  Yea, definitely not the pretty water birth I had hoped for but none the less that was the reality.

It was in that position that I decided my son was coming with the next push.  I knew that if I pushed after the contraction was over then most likely I would tear, but I was ok with that.  I took a deep breath and pushed as long as I could even after feeling the contraction stop.  And out came my little bundle of joy with his hand over his face.  As I felt him dropped I screamed for the first time, and in all my wisdom yelled “oh Sh**!  What was that!?!” and then out he came.

I was so shocked, I honestly couldn’t believe it.  I was just standing on my knees not moving, not believing what just happened. There really was a baby inside of me, and now I’m holding him!  All I could say was “it’s a baby”… I know I know, of all the things to say. Haha. 

Once Cody cut the cord and we took a nap as a family, I looked up at Cody and told him I was ready for another.  And I am, when God allows.  To this day I don’t remember the pain, which is pretty cool that my body can make my mind forget.  I tried and tried to remember, but it’s gone.  Only the joy of having Axle remained. 

My only complaint was that I truly didn’t understand just how much of a marathon my birth really was.  No matter how many times I was told to work out and be ready I wasn’t anywhere close.  I was so tired, and was falling asleep through both labor and after.   For my next birth, I will be fit.  I will be healthier and I will most defiantly use a chiropractor and Terry! 

My placenta came out later than most and needed a shot of Pitocin.  I love to joke that I was given Pitocin after my birth.  My aftermath from the birth was 2 hemorrhoids and 4 tears, one with stitches which was a little banged up on the inside.  But at my 6 week checkup, I looked really good and everything was back to normal. 

I loved my natural birth and 100% will do it again, and hopefully the next one is my beautiful water birth.  Axle weighed 8lbs 2.5oz and was 22inches long, with tons of hair on February 21st 2013 at 9:35am.  Total amount for labor from start to finish was 14hrs and 39mins, with 2hrs of pushing.

These pictures were posted with permission from Lauren Marie Photos.

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