These Baby Bites were developed to increase the access that parents and parents-to-be have to information and to help inform practice change. Baby Bites reveal interesting facts that relate to maternity care both in Queensland and Australia). Feedback on the content and usefulness of these Baby Bites is welcomed. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, suggestions for topics to be covered as part of Baby Bites, or any questions regarding this project.
Making decisions about the ‘nuchal scan’
All pregnant women should be offered the combined first trimester screening test (often called the nuchal scan). However it is important to know that you can decide whether or not you want to have this test. It can help to think about the pros and cons of having or not having this test, in your particular situation.
Finding support with a new baby
Being a new mum can be challenging and, at times, isolating. Being part of a mother’s group with other new mums can allow you to: talk with other new mums, share your experience of being a new mum, learn about normal behaviours of babies, gain emotional support and reassurance, reduce social isolation by creating friendships, build your confidence as a mother, allow you to gain and share tips about looking after a new baby
Upright positions in labour and birth
Studies have shown that women who are upright and moving around during their labour have shorter labours. Studies have also shown that squatting and kneeling during labour helps to open up the pelvis which may help you birth your baby more easily.
What can I do to reduce my chance of tearing during birth?
Studies have shown that women having their first vaginal birth are less likely to have a tear needing stitches if they did perineal massage during their pregnancy. Those women are also less likely to have an episiotomy (a cut made to increase the size of the opening of the vagina).
Studies have shown that women who have their baby’s heart rate monitored continuously during labour have increased medical intervention that is not necessarily linked to improved outcomes.
If you are concerned that the option suggested to you by your maternity care provider is not the right one for you, you can:
- have an open discussion
- ask for a second opinion
- find another maternity care provider who will support your decision
What are the chances?
In Australia each year:
- 5 out of every 1000 people are injured in a car accident (0.5%)
- 2 out of every 100 people have vomiting or diarrhoea from food poisoning (2%)
- 30 out of every 100 people catch a cold or flu (30%)
- 45 out of every 100 people get sunburnt (45%)
To find out about the chance of different things happening if you choose one option or another during labour, visit http://www.havingababy.org.au/chance
What can I do to increase my chance of having a VBAC?
You are more likely to have a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) if:
- you have had a vaginal birth previously
- your baby weighs less than 4kg
- you don’t have an induction (trying to start labour artificially) or augmentation (trying to artificially speed up your labour) of labour
- you birth in a public hospital
For more information about what factors influence the chance of you having a VBAC, visit http://www.havingababy.org.au/media/pdf/birthyourbaby_previouscaesarean.pdf
Exercise during pregnancy
Exercising regularly when you’re pregnant has been shown to reduce common pregnancy complaints like back pain, nausea, constipation, heartburn, and poor sleep. Women who exercise regularly during pregnancy also report faster recovery from childbirth. At least 30 minutes per day at a moderate intensity is recommended. Breaking exercise into 10-minute blocks is just as good, plus it can prevent overheating and might be easier to manage if you feel tired.
It is generally safe for most women to exercise when pregnant. For more information about exercise during pregnancy, talk to your care provider or visit http://sma.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/WIS-ExPreg.pdf
Early skin-to-skin contact
Early skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between mother and baby reduces crying, assists with bonding, and keeps baby warm. There is also a higher chance that breastfeeding will be easier to establish, probably because early SSC supports the baby’s instinct to attach and feed well.
Estimated due date
A pregnancy is said to be full term (the normal length) if the baby is born anytime between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. Your estimated due date (EDD) is in the middle of this range of time, and is usually the date when it is estimated that you will be 40 weeks pregnant. However, it is very common for babies to be born before or after the EDD.
Feeling stressed or not coping?
Depression is much more common than most people think. In fact, around one in ten women experience depression during pregnancy, and one in seven women are affected by depression in the year following birth. As well as feeling flat or down, depression can also feel like being overly stressed or just not coping.
If you need emotional support, talk to your health professional or contact beyondblue (1300 22 4636, www.beyondblue.org.au), Lifeline (13 11 14, www.lifeline.org.au), PANDA (1300 726 306, www.panda.org.au), or Qld Health on 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
There are many different birth facilities for women who choose to have their babies in a hospital or birth centre in Queensland. Each facility is different and the right facility for one woman may not be the right facility for another woman. Although some facilities accept only pregnant women from their local area, many facilities accept pregnant women from anywhere.
Co-sleeping is when mother and baby sleep beside each other in the same bed. Some women consider co-sleeping but want more information about the risks and benefits before they make a decision. Other women have decided to or are currently co-sleeping and want to know how to make it safer for their baby.
Have you thought about where your baby will sleep at home? Queensland Health supports a woman’s right to make an informed choice about infant sleeping by supporting women to consider the risks and benefits of different infant sleeping options (e.g., room sharing, co-sleeping, and separate room).
To find out more about the risks and benefits of different infant sleeping options, you can have a discussion with your care provider or visit www.isisonline.org.uk. If you would like to know how to make co-sleeping safer, you can find out more by visiting the Sleeping with your baby section of www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/childhealth/SafeSleeping_Broch.pdf or you can visit www.sidsandkids.org/safe-sleeping.
What does that mean?
Remember that you can ask your care provider to explain medical terms to you if you cannot understand what they are talking about. To help you understand the terms used by your care provider, you can also use an online tool called Birthspeak. Birthspeak is an online dictionary that explains maternity care terms in plain language and allows you to listen to the words spoken aloud.
In Queensland, it is common for a baby’s umbilical cord to be clamped and cut after birth. However, women have a choice about this practice, as they do with every choice in pregnancy, labour, birth and after birth. Women can choose to have early or delayed cord clamping. There are differences in outcomes between the two for mother and baby.
What can I do to increase my chance of having a normal birth?
Queensland Health recognises the importance of having a normal birth. To achieve a normal birth, it is recommended that women move into positions that feel comfortable to them in labour, receive supportive and continuous one-to-one care during active labour, go into labour on their own and do not have labour sped up (no induction or augmentation) when labour is progressing normally and the mother and baby are well, use water in labour for pain relie and/or be guided by the urge to push during the second stage of labour.
Providing feedback or making a complaint about care you receive?
Providing both positive and negative feedback about your pregnancy, labour, birth, or after birth care allows care providers to continually improve the way they deliver care. You can provide feedback about anything, including both minor and major issues. If you believe you have received poor care, making a complaint may prevent it from happening to other families. To find out more about providing positive and negative feedback on your care, visit: www.havingababy.org.au/feedback_about_care
Differences in caesarean rates: Private versus public hospitals
If you give birth in a private hospital in Queensland, you are more likely to have a caesarean birth, regardless of your age, the number of births you have had, your weight, and whether you have had a previous caesarean. You are also more likely to be able to choose whether you have a caesarean or vaginal birth if you birth in a private hospital in Queensland.
To find out more about the specific intervention rates of a hospital near you, you can visit Birthplace (www.havingababy.org.au/birthplace). If you are interested in research that specifically looks at this topic, you can visit www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0266613812001039
Did you know that health providers are required by law to involve you in all decisions regarding your care?
You are entitled to:
Get a full explanation on all of your different options
Know what happens if you choose these different options and
Be supported to choose the option that is best for you
For more information and support in making decisions about your maternity care, visit havingababy.org.au. For more information about your decision making rights, please see the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (http://www.hqcc.qld.gov.au/complaints/pages/know-your-rights.aspx).
In Queensland there are many services that offer care and support after birth. For example, you could visit your local child health clinic, newborn and family drop-in centre or GP. These services may offer medical advice, breastfeeding support, sleep and settling support, check-ups for mums and babies, immunisations and more. To find out what service offers and to choose the one that best suits your needs visit http://www.havingababy.org.au/care_and_support_after_birth