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What is Nitrous Oxide?

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 03:01pm
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Nitrous Oxide is often called “laughing gas” or is referred to as Entenox. It is a gas that you would breathe during a contraction.  The gas results in a mild analgesic effect and using it does provide a distraction. Some of you may have had this pain relief measure used when you had repairs done at your dentist office.

The benefits of this pain relief measure include: it provides short relief of pain during the contraction when you are feeling the pain; it does not slow labour and ypu can still feel the urge to push baby during the second stage of labour. There is also very minimal effect on baby.

The disadvantages for Mom include:

  • Can cause nausea
  • May cause dizziness
  • May cause sedation
  • Can cause headaches.

Talk to your health care provider before you go into labour about the options for pain relief and any concerns that you have about them. 

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What is Jaundice?

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 04:24pm
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Jaundice refers to the yellowish colour that some newborn babies turn shortly after they are born. There is a yellow tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes, caused by a higher than normal level of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a reddish to yellow water pigment that occurs in the blood. There are several types of jaundice that can occur in newborns. The most common type is physiologic jaundice, occurring in more than 50% of babies.

We all have red blood cells circulating through our bodies that deliver oxygen to our lungs. These red blood cells wear out all the time and are replaced by brand new ones. Normally, the worn-out cells are broken down by the liver into bilirubin and other substances. They are then expelled from our bodies in our urine and stool.

Like many newborns, your baby’s liver may not be mature at birth. It is very likely your baby’s liver will process bilirubin more slowly. The excess bilirubin is therefore deposited in the skin and whites of the eyes of your baby, which appear yellow. You won’t have to worry about this early jaundice while your baby is in the hospital, because the bilirubin level will be monitored by a blood test. However, many of you will be taking your babies home on the second or third day after birth, when the effects of jaundice first become really noticeable. It peaks between 3 and 5 days after birth, but it usually disappears by 1 to 2 weeks of age. You will need to monitor this type of jaundice for yourselves at home.

Because most babies leave the hospital within 24 to 60 hours after birth, you will need to monitor the degree of jaundice in your newborn. How will you know if your baby has become jaundiced? If any of the following signs appear in your baby, contact your baby’s healthcare provider for more detailed instructions on how to handle your particular situation.

  • Your baby has yellow skin and/or yellow in the whites of the eyes. (Jaundice is first noticeable in the head and then proceeds gradually towards the abdomen and extremities.) To best judge the amount of yellowness in the skin and/or eyes, look your baby over in natural light – by a window is a good spot.
  • Your baby is not waking up to eat and/or not feeding well.
  • Your baby is sleepy all of the time.
  • Your baby has had at least a 7% drop in body weight in the first 72 hours after birth.

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What is epidural anaesthesia?

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 03:02pm
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A medication is placed in the epidural space in the lower back. This medication numbs the nerves in the lower back.  This is similar to when the dentist numbs the nerves in your face before doing a filling.  Epidural has been used since the 1960’s to provide pain relief during labour.

There are two types of epidurals available.  A standard epidural (block) can be used for either a vaginal birth or a Caesarean Birth.  With a standard epidural you will not be able to move your legs and may only feel pressure but no pain. A light epidural sometimes called a ‘walking’ epidural is used for a vaginal birth.  With this type of epidural you will be able to move your legs, you will feel pressure and pain will be diminished.

Epidurals offer excellent pain relief, they allow you to relax and even sleep during labour and they allow women who are having a caesarean birth to be awake.  The light epidurals also allow you to change position, walk and move around - all measures that help labour to progress.

When can an epidural be given?
Since only a specialist can give an epidural, it is a pain measure that is only available in hospital.  Once your labour is progressing and the neck of your cervix has opened to about 4cm an epidural can then be given.  An epidural may not be appropriate for some women due to their medical history, talk with your doctor before you go into labour to discuss what pain relief measures would be best for you.

How is an epidural given?
A specialist doctor called an anaesthesiologist gives the epidural by having you lay on your side in a curled position or has you sit up bending over your abdomen. He freezes your skin first by injecting a medication-then he places a needle into the epidural space. A thin, flexible plastic tube (catheter) is threaded through the needle; the needle is removed and the catheter stays in place until after your baby is born. The specialist then inserts medication or a combination of medications through the catheter and into the epidural space.

Like any medical procedure epidurals do have some disadvantages.

For mom these include:

  • Possible fever in mom for several hours after birth
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Some women experience shivering 
  • May slow labour
  • Diminishes urge to push
  • Diminishes urge to pee (urinate)
  • Reaction to the medications used i.e. nausea, vomiting, headache, itching
  • Requires the use of intravenous (I.V.) fluids, fetal monitoring, frequent checks of vital signs and possible urinary catheter to empty the bladder.
  • Paralysis is extremely rare.
  • Lingering back pain is a common complaint; however research to date does not support the epidural as the source of the pain.

For baby disadvantages include:

  • Changes in baby’s heart rate
  • Changes to baby’s temperature
  • Changes in baby reflexes for first few days after birth
  • Baby’s sucking reflex may be affected by medications
  • Fussiness
  • May cause hypoglycaemia in baby (low blood sugar)

Talk to your health care provider before you go into labour about the options for pain relief and any concerns that you have about them. 

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Testing for Jaundice

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 04:24pm
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Nearly all newborns have some jaundice that usually peaks between 3-5 days following birth. Jaundice is caused by the excess build-up of a yellow pigment called bilirubin, under the skin. A nurse will assess your newborn for jaundice and, if it is suspected, then there will be an evaluation of serum bilirubin levels through blood tests. Blood will most likely be taken from your baby’s heel.

 

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