New Mothers Explore Popular Birthing Trends

RICHMOND (WRIC)—The summer of 2013 was all about celebrity pregnancies, from Kim Kardashian to Princess Kate.

Women around the world learned you can be hospitalized from severe morning sickness while Kate Middleton was pregnant with Prince George. Some celebrities went extreme—like Kim Kardashian and her curiosity with placenta.

These trends are sending expectant mothers here in Central Virginia to their doctors with questions.

Two new birthing trends are becoming increasingly popular in this area. One is skin-to-skin contact, in which the newborn is placed directly on the mother's chest for at least an hour.

“Studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact helps stabilize the baby's cardio repository status [and] can help them maintain their temperature, maintain their blood sugars,” said Dr. Kimberly McMurrow of Virginia Physicians for Women.

Gina Gentile just gave birth to a baby girl two months ago and used the skin-to-skin contact method.

“It's a very powerful first moment with your child—the first time you hold your child,” she said, adding that it also helps with breastfeeding—a daunting task for many new mothers.

“They said if you just put the baby on you, facing you, they wiggle until they're in ‘cause they can smell the breast milk,” Gentile said. “And sure enough, she wiggled herself down until she was in the breastfeeding position.”

Hospitals in the greater Richmond area know the importance of skin-to-skin contact. Bon Secours has what's called “Magic Hour,” which leaves time for both mom and baby to form that special bond.

“That trend has increased to the point where about 82 percent of the NICU utilizes skin-to-skin,” said Karen Wharton, a physician at Bon Secours. “This one hour is gonna make such a huge difference … through the child's entire childhood.”

Another trend sweeping across delivery rooms is delayed umbilical cord clamping. Gentile did this when her daughter was born; she waited just over a minute before clamping her cord.

“We usually cut the umbilical cord within 15 to 20 seconds after birth,” McMurrow said. “There are patients now that are requesting to not clamp and cut the cord immediately, because there could be potential benefits.”

For Gentile, there were benefits; she didn't do the delayed clamping with her firstborn, Sienna, who ended up with jaundice, or yellowing of the skin from not getting enough iron. She opted for the delayed clamping technique with her newborn, Savannah.

“She was so pink right after birth; I noticed the difference in just their skin colors,” Gentile said. “I said, ‘Well, maybe that has something to do with the delayed cord clamping, where she has significantly more blood in her system and iron levels than Sienna did with her iron levels.'”

As with all new birthing trends, expectant mothers should do their research and talk to their doctors to find out what is best for them and their little ones.


Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond


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