Welcome to enJOYing Birth!

As of August 2009, I have completed my coursework as a Childbirth International student. I am now a Certified Labor Doula and Childbirth Educator. I look forward to continue helping women enjoy their pregnancies, their births, and their babies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Newborn Suctioning

One of my concerns after Carsten's birth was the way the pediatrician suctioned him. She stuck a thin tube down his throat and he gagged and cried. It was terrible and Mike hated watching it. I've since seen 2 others born at the same hospital endure this torture. Is it necessary?

I just read this from Midwifery Today's E-News:

A Need to Suction?

I do not suction my babies routinely; I feel this procedure is a man-made thing. When I birth my babies, I turn them over onto their stomachs with their heads down and brush up their backs and they will spit up what they need to. With suctioning of any kind mucus, as well as meconium, is forced down the throat. Unless you plan to intubate and suction with a vacuum tube, like in the hospital, the only meconium you will be suctioning will be down the esophagus. This is traumatic to the baby and throws him into the vagal response, which increases his respiration and heart rate at a critical time when he should be stabilizing.

I find that most of the meconium that babies will spit up is in a large mucus plug, tinged with the meconium, within the first six to eight hours after birth. If baby’s respiration is slightly elevated above normal, a small amount of sterile water can be given to him, and he will soon spit up a large mucus plug and be just fine. If you are concerned that baby may have aspirated meconium, about the only thing you can do is watch for signs of infection if you do not plan to intubate and suction.

~ Cathy O’Bryant
Midwifery Today’s Birth Wisdom, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III

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