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CIMS urges ACOG –> Remove Barriers to VBAC

Received this email alert and thought I’d pass on thru my blog… and encourage all to take action!

It takes 5 seconds to add your name to the list!

e-CIMS Action Alert Sept. 28, 2010

CIMS Urges ACOG to Remove Additional Barriers to VBAC
Join us in asking ACOG to take steps that will increase VBAC, reduce cesareans, and ultimately avoid unnecessary harms to mothers and infants.

In a Sept. 9, 2010, letter to Dr. Richard Waldman, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), CIMS and 18 co-signing organizations urged ACOG to revise its current recommendation that VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) should take place in hospitals where emergency cesareans are “immediately available.”

CIMS will collect the names of additional organizations and individuals in support of this request through October 31, 2010, and will send the updated list of co-signers to Dr. Waldman. Add your name or your organization’s name now!

This request follows the March 2010 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Statement on VBAC, which found that VBAC is a reasonable choice for the majority of affected women. The NIH also reported that the “immediately available” recommendation was not based on strong support from high-quality evidence and had influenced about one-third of hospitals and one-half of physicians to stop providing care for women who wanted to plan a VBAC.

CIMS and the co-signing organizations also urged ACOG to revise its patient education publications and online consumer resources to include comprehensive information on the benefits and risks of cesarean section and VBAC. Without transparency about the short- and long-term benefits and risks of routine repeat cesarean and VBAC, women cannot make a truly informed choice about how they want to give birth.

Additional Information:

CIMS Press Release “CIMS Responds to Promising but Conflicting Revised VBAC Guidelines”

American College of Nurse-Midwives Responds to ACOG’s 2010 VBAC Recommendations (PDF)

Take Action: Add your name or your organization’s name now!

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NIH Conference on VBAC’S ~ Continuing to Spread the Word

Spreading the word from the NIH VBAC conference….It’s now coming thru via AWHONN Vitals!!!

This is at least a month old news to most birth junkies but….. but I find it encouraging that the news is coming thru from AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses). There are many many nurses and birth professionals out there that haven’t even heard about this conference. I know the big AWHONN convention is coming up in Nashville June 12th, and possibly this topic will be presented somewhere although late to get on agenda. Sometimes the nurses can help educate the docs…… ya think?

One topic on the Nashville Agenda is:

“SOLUTIONS FOR SURVIVAL: Working where Birth is NOT Considered NORMAL”

Boy~ would I love to go to that presentation!!!!!

From the recent AWHONN newsletter~

“Panel Urges New Look at Caesarean Guidelines”
The New York Times, Denise Grady
A government panel recently took steps that will increase women’s ability to find doctors and hospitals that will let them attempt a normal birth after a previous caesarean section. The recommendations came from a panel at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) conference convened to assess why the rate of vaginal birth after Caesarean section (VBAC) has gone from 28.3% in 1996 to less than 10% today. The repeat surgeries are contributing to the growing rates of C-sections in the U.S., which today account for nearly a third of all deliveries. Repeat C-sections were previously deemed safer due to concerns that the uterine scar would rupture, putting both the mother and the baby at significant risk. According to the chairman of the NIH conference, “We found the use of VBAC is certainly a safe alternative for the majority of women who’ve had one prior” C-section, as long as the incision was horizontal and low on the uterus. Approximately 70% of women who have had C-sections are good candidates for attempting a normal birth, and 60% to 80% of those who try succeed. The government panel urged the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Anesthesiologists to “reassess” their guidelines, which have rendered many clinicians and hospitals unwilling to allow VBACs. The groups’ current guidelines require that surgical and anesthesia teams be “immediately available” during labor if a women has had a prior C-section. Some institutions were unable to comply, and thus banned VBACs altogether.
Link to Article

We Deliver? How about we make it a better delivery?

permission from CartoonStock

permission from CartoonStock

Our Maternity Services

Need Help!

The Maternal Child care delivery system in this country as a whole needs vast improvement. All of these 10 steps as well as the 10 steps to ensure optimal successful  breastfeeding are very important.

These items are sadly grossly misconstrued or ignored by many facilities offering maternity services in this country. I have been having the same discussions and occasional arguments with co-workers  lately on this battle of the newborn baby staying in the moms room overnight!!! I know~ it is a no brainer to those of you who read, research and understand. Many of my co-workers still defend their philosophy that the baby needs to come into the nursery at night so the mom can sleep!!  Many argue with me about labor positions and inductions!! AARRGGHH! I won’t get into our details right now…….

What I have here for you today is NOT new info but I recently reviewed it again as I was searching for evidence to back my discussions with staff. If you haven’t placed this information in your workplace to nudge some resistant peers, I urge you to do so!

This document : THE COALITION FOR IMPROVING MATERNITY SERVICES:
EVIDENCE BASIS FOR THE TEN STEPS OF MOTHER-FRIENDLY CARE
can show you research studies or data which support the ten steps below.

The 10 steps for Mother-Friendly Care from CIMS {Coalition for Improving Maternity Services} taken from their website…..are:

Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative
For Mother-Friendly Hospitals, Birth Centers,* and Home Birth Services

To receive CIMS designation as “mother-friendly,” a hospital, birth center, or home birth service must carry out the above philosophical principles by fulfilling the Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.

A mother-friendly hospital, birth center, or home birth service:

  1. Offers all birthing mothers:
    • Unrestricted access to the birth companions of her choice, including fathers, partners, children, family members, and friends;
    • Unrestricted access to continuous emotional and physical support from a skilled woman—for example, a doula,* or labor-support professional;
    • Access to professional midwifery care.
  2. Provides accurate descriptive and statistical information to the public about its practices and procedures for birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.
  3. Provides culturally competent care—that is, care that is sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.
  4. Provides the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of the lithotomy (flat on back with legs elevated) position.
  5. Has clearly defined policies and procedures for:
    • collaborating and consulting throughout the perinatal period with other maternity services, including communicating with the original caregiver when transfer from one birth site to another is necessary;
    • linking the mother and baby to appropriate community resources, including prenatal and post-discharge follow-up and breastfeeding support.
  6. Does not routinely employ practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including but not limited to the following:
    • shaving;
    • enemas;
    • IVs (intravenous drip);
    • withholding nourishment or water;
    • early rupture of membranes*;
    • electronic fetal monitoring;
    • Has an induction* rate of 10% or less;†
    • Has an episiotomy* rate of 20% or less, with a goal of 5% or less;
    • Has a total cesarean rate of 10% or less in community hospitals, and 15% or less in tertiary care (high-risk) hospitals;
    • Has a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) rate of 60% or more with a goal of 75% or more.
  7. other interventions are limited as follows:

  8. Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief, and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.
  9. Encourages all mothers and families, including those with sick or premature newborns or infants with congenital problems, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.
  10. Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
  11. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding:
    1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff;
    2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy;
    3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding;
    4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth;
    5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants;
    6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated;
    7. Practice rooming in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day;
    8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand;
    9. Give no artificial teat or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants;
    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from hospitals or clinics

† This criterion is presently under review.

I endorse these steps. You can visit their website to also endorse.

Kathy from Woman to Woman Childbirth Education wrote about the CIMS press release on the Need for Transparency regarding the rising C/S rates. Excellent information is discussed here by the CIMS and I enjoyed the discussion between Kathy and RealityRounds.

I also would urge you all to visit and give information to The Birth Survey.

How is your birth place measuring up to these initiatives?

Let’s all continue to make this a better world

in which to give birth!!

A Full Moon doesn’t always bring lots of babies

Full Moon Flight

A Full Moon Flight?

We had a Full Moon this past weekend. October 4th– according to my calender.  Over the past 35+ years in this business, it has been my experience that the full moon does NOT bring all the babies! We had just one baby born this whole weekend….  and hardly any labor checks. It was eery Quiet. (The “Q” word. Something we only say after our shift!)85902615

The weekend before, however, is another story! We had 13 deliveries during the 2 day wkend and L&D was packed most days during the whole week leading up to this full moon! We had to use a lot of overflow rooms for evals and non-stress tests. Everywhere I turned, it was crazy busy.. and not just in L&D. It seems we get more babies with high bilirubins, more early babies with transitional breathing problems and other little issues whenever we have high census!

In my experience, I have seen the most babies born either on a new moon or the week of waxing or waning of the full moon and not on the actual full moon.  Is it like that where you work?? I would really like to know the experiences of other L&D nurses.

So tell me—  what happens in your world?

Not your Usual Birth Plan

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A birth plan is usually a written plan from the mother to her caregivers describing her wishes, what type of options she’d like to take advantage of, things she would like to happen thru out her labor and birth, what things are important to her as she experiences birth.  There are various resources out there to help a new mom explore options and formulate a plan.. especially for a hospital birth.  It is important that the mom review this with ALL her care providers AND especially the L&D nurses…. the advocates who help you actually realize the goals with in your plan. I have a fellow L&D nurse blogger who has done extensive research on the topic and wrote a 2 part series on Writing Your Birth Plan- Tips from an L&D Nurse over at nursingbirth. I would highly recommend you check it out especially if you plan on a hospital birth.

Many times these birth plans accompany a mom’s prenatal chart weeks in advance of her birth. Over the years there has been a gradual acceptance of the plans in my facility where historically, there had been much resistance for the mother’s input what so ever.  Much like the attitudes towards homebirth…. The doctors or nurses would casually peruse the plan then toss it aside and have a good laugh…. saying…. ” oh- she’ll end up a section for sure!”  Unfortunately, they were often right about that– many of those early birthplans never seemed to go as mom wanted, giving the staff fodder for snide comments and remarks. Sad but true. 😦

Recently, we recieved a birth plan that was not at all like any other.  Maybe some of you have seen plans like this… maybe some of you actually wished for births like this…. Hey~ who am I to judge? …. I am only here to help,  it isn’t my birth.

Her Birth Plan requested:

  • Pain medication as soon as possible….. I prefer to have an epidural as soon as possible
  • Please do not try to make me have breathing patterns through contractions… I’m afraid I’ll be too nervous
  • If a Cesearean is needed, please put me to sleep
  • I want only my mother with me in the labor and delivery of my baby
  • When the baby is born, I do NOT want to touch him until you clean him off
  • You can do his eye ointment and Vitamin shot, bath and all procedures before I hold him
  • I want to hold him wrapped in a blanket, not skin to skin
  • I want the baby to be in the nursery as much as possible at night so I can rest
  • I want to feed my baby formula from a bottle. I don’t want to breast-feed
  • I want to stay in the hospital for the whole allotted time so I can rest

My first thoughts were… Sweetheart, you could have ALL THIS without even asking!” ……..

Sadly, despite all efforts to improve,  …  things still happen exactly like this for many births.  We just don’t usually see it written out as a formal request or plan!  At least this is how this mother wanted things to happen.

This little mommy came in and delivered vaginally. Her plan was very easily carried out. 😉  I am very happy to report that she and her son were healthy and she displayed very postive interaction with him. Very loving and caring. She was very very happy with her birth and with being a mother!

That is all that really matters in the end.  Options– and what you as an individual would like to have for your birth. How much education she had before chosing these options… I’ll never know.

 Now I am asking the rest of cyberspace world.. have you ever seen birth plans like this???

I’m Proud of my Hospital….~ this week ~

~I’ve reason to be a little proud of the care given this week.008

I hope this is a continuing trend of attention to detail, utilizing evidence-based practices and compassion, listening to our patients and providing them with options and the best possible care…. I’ll give you a few details about each as you read on… In summary, this week we have had the following situations:

  • A 25 week-er walk-in with a precipitous delivery stabilized & tranported quickly
  • Twins! Vertex/vertex –turned breech– turned vertex~ delivered vaginally
  • A Heroin/Cocaine  addict identified, baby able to be treated appropriately so comfortable transition
  • Safe Haven newborn about 1 day old.. placed up for adoption
  •  Homebirth Transfer handled with great respect overall and most importantly, the mother is happy with her experience.

Whew! We have a lot of busy weeks but they don’t always have this intensity or variety! I feel proud because there may have been a few things done differently due to recent conversations I’ve had…Plugs I’ve made… and I keeping putting in little plugs to try to gently increase awareness & educate. I am an Instructor in Neonatal Resuscitation and Lactation.. sometimes the troops listen when I talk about other topics…. I’m no expert but I try to be current, correct and compassionate in care. (My 4 c’s)

Okay… the details for the first 3… stay tuned for the others…..

~25 Week gestation walk-in~

She came in with mild cramps and pressure. She didn’t report any fluid leakage but did C/O pink vaginal mucus. We had her in an exam room pronto. She had a gentle speculum exam which revealed hour glassing membranes thru an approximate 4-5 cm cervix..visually.  Hour-glassing means that the intact amniotic sac has protruded thru the partially dilated cervix and expanded like a bubble  in the vagina. She went right into trendelenburg. The transfer teams were called. It was soon clear she would deliver here and the baby would need to be stabilized and transferred. The NICU team contacted us back they would be flying up to retrieve. The nurses caring for her were tremendously supportive.  All procedures explained, options offered and decisions honored.  They got her records faxed over from her OB’s office so we had a little history.

Like a well oiled machine (from all of our drills), all the emergency equipment was readied, pediatrician in attendance, roles clarified. Once he was born almost without warning, precipitously, all at once, about 30 minutes later. He was quickly assessed, wrapped in plastic, ventilated, then intubated. We had a peripheral IV in place in case he needed meds or fluid volume. He had a chest xray and a blood culture/blood count sent.  He was kept warm, ventilated and appropriately oxygenated and had stable glucoses. He weighed in at about 700 gms (about 1 1/2 lbs). The team arrived when he was about 30 minutes old. They checked all labs, xrays and his IV line. They gave him Surfactant and pretty quickly and carefully,  loaded him in the transport incubator then got him out to his mommy for a visit before he was transferred. They answered all her questions before they left and we helped her deal with it all. The doctors discharged her shortly after that so she could get down to her baby.  At last report, he was doing just as expected for 25 wks, no other complications often seen at that gestation, for ELBW (Extremely Low BirthWeight) had come up. He was actually improving each day! So happy for everyone!

~Twins!~

She came in to the hospital already in very active labor at 37.5 weeks gestation. Her twins were both head down (vertex/vertex). She labored quickly, uneventfully and delivered Twin A at about 1 pm. With the ultrasound machine in the room, they scanned over her still pregnant belly to see where Twin B was and if he was still in position. Turns out that once Twin A had vacated the womb, baby B had a lot of room and he had moved into a transverse/breech position. That means he was more bottom first than head first anymore. Most Ob’s now don’t attempt a breech delivery even with the second twin.  They are quick to do a C/S…. This day, however, …. the Ob in charge called over an associate to ask his opinion. They brought the mom into the OR and prepared to do a C/S  if they were unable to get the baby in proper position. The point is they were at least going to TRY!  With the U/S scanner and 2 assistants, they did an external version and worked Twin B  back into a head down vertex position without complication. He delivered vaginally about 1 hour and 45 minutes after his brother! The staff kept the first twin in the room the whole time so they could all be together. I spoke to the Ob later and congratulated him on a great job.. he said to me that he remembered what we had talked about awhile ago (when I had written the post about a C/S for the 2nd twin), and had researched it himself. I was happy that any little plug I had made had sparked interest in researching the topic and possibly even influencing a decision towards better care! I am happy to report that both babies went home with mommy on day 2!

~A Heroin/Cocaine addict~
We are attempting to put together some consistant protocols for drug screening so that we don’t miss the opportunities to protect a newborn in need…. Some may not understand how important it is to sometimes screen the healthy and innocent to weed out those with problems…. They don’t always present in an obvious way. From my perspective, those individuals who are hiding something are very difficult to identify from outward appearance only. We identified a heroin/cocaine addict recently who was a very beautiful, well groomed, well nourished, affluent (seemed wealthy) woman who stated she was just visiting in our area, and had no prenatal care info or records with her…. she was in rip-roaring very active labor at 36 1/2 weeks with heavy vaginal bleeding and fetal distress. We thought we were headed to the OR but the baby had other ideas. We had little time to get more information before the baby was born. There was a small abruption but luckily, the baby was vigorous and did not seem to have suffered blood loss. The admitting nurse had collected a urine sample with a catheter insertion and sent it for drug screen. It came back positive for Opiates, Cocaine and THC. The baby’s urine also tested postive for Opiates, Cocaine and THC. Because we knew, we were able to start the NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Scoring) for signs of drug withdrawal and identify the signs quickly. If the baby is unable to be comforted by swaddling or holding or if we had 3 scores of 8 or higher, there are protocols set up for medicating the baby. The baby did require medication within 24 hrs. Once medicated, she was such a happy sweet little girl. The nurses named her “Molly” and we all loved her. She stayed with us all week until the pediatrician released her andChildren’s Services placed her in a foster home experienced with this kind of care. Unfortunately, some of the big drug problems have hit my area. Our local paper just did a big series of stories on local Heroin addiction problems. Apparently it is cheap and accessible.

I am going to publish this part tonite and tell the other two stories soon…

No Prenatal Care? …..What are YOU Hiding??

No Prenatal Care is usually a symptom of something--hiding some type of underlying problem. Sometimes it's very ugly. The most common encounters we have involve illicit drug use during pregnancy. We need to develop a comprehensive Maternal and Neonatal Drug Screening protocol to protect the newborn.

Read more

OB Docs and Nurses Scoff at Homebirth

My community hospital’s views have never been in favor of any type of home-birth… whether it’s with a skilled professional  practitioner or a skilled lay midwife. There could have been some free unassisted births going on but we were not aware….  As I grew-up in this profession, I learned first from my experienced counterparts…then I began to educate myself and learned a lot from mothers and babies.  The doctors and nurses I worked with were all stagnant in their knowledge in my early years. They were satisfied with how things were.  I was young, I had an open-minded philosophy and an eager quest for knowledge.

In the later 70’s, just when we began to have mothers speak out and request a more natural childbirth, I had a few friends who enlisted the aid of some lay midwife in the region and arranged for homebirths. They all had a really nice birth experience without a single complication. Perhaps that was why I was open to the idea even though I was not personally involved. Besides some of the truly prepared couples who came in and had incredibly beautiful births….. that had been my first exposure as an alternative option to the knock’em out–pull’em out births I had been working with on the job. I knew my friends were very low-risk and had done their homework. 

   However, the hospital’s exposure to a homebirth in those days was only if the homebirth went awry for some reason or another and they came in our doors seeking help…  here’s what the docs and nurses would say to one another :

  • “Can you believe she planned to deliver at home???”
  • “How could she take take a chance like that with her baby?”
  • “The reason people started coming to hospitals to give birth was because mothers and babies were dieing at home….she must be crazy or totally insane!!”

   We’ve had planned homebirths come in for various reasons, as I am sure other facilities did…. (keep in mind that in my area, the usual birth attendant was a lay midwife). The situations bringing the mother to the hospital were often scary and upsetting for her. The most common were:

  • Fetal heart rate decels with or without meconium stained fluid 
  • Lack of progress with pushing mostly after many hours..
  • Higher than normal bloody show or bleeding–possibly abrupting
  • Breech, brow or face presentation
  • Retained placenta

Often the OB’s didn’t handle themselves well.. certainly not professionally. We had this one OB who would call for the OR to be opened before he even examined the patient or evaluated the situation…..regardless of why they came in.  And he often actually yelled at the mother, in the middle of her scary situation.

“Your baby will die if we don’t do an emergency C/S right now, why did you let this happen!”

Most often the backlash was directed at the midwife who cowered in the hallway- uninvited by the staff, left alone detached from her patient. She never left the unit though until she was afforded the opportunity to visit and speak to her patient. 

The two significant situations I remember which would fall in to statistical data for morbidity were:

  1.  An abruption which resulted in a crash C/S upon admission and a neonatal resuscitation with good response….(final apgars 3@one min then 7@ five min) positive overall outcome, no long term sequelae.
  2. A birth where the father (a chiropractor) was the birth attendant for his wife, a multip, encountered a shoulder dystocia and the baby ended up with a displaced fractured left humerus. That baby was in a crib with traction to realign the bone. The child went on to be an honor student at a local university after homeschool.

I feel that instead of the midwife or mother receiving hostility (or even the mother being wisked away to the OR without a trial of something if the baby was deemed stable..)~ the staff should have behaved in a compassionate professional manner, acting on any urgent situation with consideration that this mother is now experiencing not only labor but fear and grief over the loss of her beautiful planned birth.

Despite all the negativity from the staff, we never had a seriously bad outcome from attempted homebirths arriving on our doorstep.  We still have attitude problems, probably always will~ just as we do with breastfeeding.  I wish they could  look at it from my perspective. Those who choose homebirth today have better information to hopefully make an educated informed decision about their birth options and choose wisely. I really like Ricki Lake’s “The Business of being Born” among other’s. I hope those choosing homebirth are truly investigating all these options, deciding what is best for them and not making any decisions out of “anger at the system” or any sort of revolutionary zeal.  

  There is so much out there for medical professionals to be aware of other than what goes on in their tiny little realm, their little part of the world. My co-workers and doctors need to be better informed.  

Any one bad outcome (which most certainly happens in the hospital)  does not mean that every homebirth is a bad idea.

Cesarean Delivery of the Second Twin… Why? 

029I was talking to one of my on-line Twitter friends @onefinebreeder about twin delivery. I was telling her about how things used to be.. how vertex-nonvertex twin gestation’s were always delivered vaginally ….. and she commented on how it was sad that some of the old OB skills have been totally lost to surgery… So Very True!

I got to thinking about the first combination Twin delivery I had witnessed back in the very early 80’s. This was actually one of our own (hospital employee) nurses .  She was a multip…. around 37-38 weeks and healthy…no complications during pregnancy. Twin A delivered spontaneously, vaginally with a generous episiotomy as they often performed at that time… The baby , a girl, was about 6 pounds, vigorous and had no problems. We were all marveling at the first baby, checked fetal hearts on the second twin and started waiting for him to get in position.  Still before consistent ultrasound, we were not worried. However, we had a newer doctor who was attending this birth. He began to get concerned after 5- 10 min when contractions slowed and he was worried that if this baby was breech, he would have difficulty with the “after-coming” head. Up to this point, all I had learned was this can be a real concern if the smaller feet or buttocks present through a cervix which is not fully dilated. Much research was done later on but at the time, I did not know about it. He began to ask us to call the OR for a C/S. This was unheard of in my limited experience at the time…. my 70’s world. I thought.. how can they do a C/S now when one baby was already born??? I tried to be an advocate… (my early days… )”We have Piper forceps…”  I said meekly… “Have you tried to grab a large part and help bring the baby down… ?” This was my limited knowledge… all I knew to suggest. I kept wishing one of the other doctors was on duty that day.. or maybe we could call them???

In front of the mother, he said to me “I’m not going to have a bad outcome here!” By now it was 20 minutes or so. There was no cord prolapse, no drop in fetal hearts, no evidence of immediate trouble… the baby was seeming to work itself into breech position…. To the mother he said “Your baby is in serious danger and the best thing to save him is to take you for a Cesarean now!” “I’ll sew your episiotomy together while we are in the OR.”

I was in shock. She signed, scared to death of course. So we prepped her for the OR. She went up for a C/S of her second twin and repair of her generous episiotomy. Her second baby was delivered frank breech…  a beautiful boy about the same size and was also vigorous and healthy. I remember I felt as though she was almost assaulted. I remember feeling that this was a true rare event if it every happened before. There was no immediate access to information like today.

Luckily mom and babies did fairly well in the postpartum period even though healing from both the episiotomy and the C/S was difficult for her.

"How can I get out if I'm not head 1st ??"

" Psst-- How can I get out if I'm not head 1st ??"

I wanted to see how much research I could find on this topic. I had gone to the green journal (OB & GYN) website but then it locked me out. (You can only look at abstracts anyway unless you want to purchase the article. You are on your own for that.) I had some luck with the abstracts at PubMed so I have put a few here.

I decided to take a look across time…….

This first one is from 1981. . Quoted abstract from the PubMed site:

Cesarean Section for Delivery of the Second Twin

Evrard,JohnR.; Gold, Edwin M.
Obstetrics & Gynecology. 57(5):581-583, May 1981.

Four cases of combined vaginal-abdominal delivery of twins are presented, and an additional 5 cases from the recent literature are discussed. Malposition, malpresentation, and contracted cervix were the main indications for cesarean section for the birth of twin B. In the 9 cases presented, there were 2 perinatal deaths.

Interesting that this research was done during the same time frame as my experience above. I’d like to know more about those poor outcomes 😦

The next interesting article I found was researched over a 10 yr period, somewhat close to here in a larger facility, published 1997. THIS study examines the delivery of the second twin by utilizing external version vs breech extraction . 😉 The results are showing in favor of breech delivery vs version (those meeting exclusionary criteria ).. Versions were associated with higher a incidence of Cesarean and fetal distress. Neonatal outcomes no different and are stated below:

Method of delivery of the nonvertex second twin: a community hospital experience.

 Smith SJ, Zebrowitz J, Latta RA.   J Matern Fetal Med. 1997 May-Jun;6(3):146-50

Abington Memorial Hospital, Pennsylvania, USA.

The purpose of this study is to examine the incidence of cesarean section and fetal distress complicating the delivery of the second twin in vertex-nonvertex twin gestations in which the second twin underwent either breech extraction or external version. The intrapartum courses of 510 twin gestations delivered at a community hospital over a 10-year period were retrospectively analyzed. All vertex-nonvertex twin gestations were identified in which the second twin underwent attempted breech extraction or external version. Exclusion criteria included birthweight < or = 1,500 g, fetal anomaly, intrauterine demise, and monoamniotic twins. Of the 76 twin sets that met inclusion criteria, 33 underwent external version and 43 underwent primary breech extraction. The two groups had similar demographic characteristics. External version compared to breech extraction was associated with a significantly greater incidence of cesarean section (8/33 vs. 1/43, P = .008) and fetal distress (8/33 vs. 1/43, P = .008). There was no difference between groups in neonatal outcome for the second twin as measured by length of stay, 5-minute Apgar < 7, intensive care unit admissions, hyaline membrane disease, intraventricular hemorrhage, and traumatic birth injury. In conclusion, the increased incidence of cesarean section and fetal distress in patients undergoing attempted external version suggests that breech extraction may be the preferable route of delivery for the nonvertex second twin weighing more than 1,500 g

The next study was published a little later in 2001 and covered a 20 year span of time… during the 80’s and 90’s at a larger center in Nova Scotia, Canada. They noted an increase in their combination vaginal/cesarean twin births and documented some statistical data, looked at reasons for an operative second twin birth. I wish to read this study further some day to see if there is mention pertaining to mother/baby outcomes other than statistics outlined (even though that wasn’t their objective) in this abstract:

Combined Vaginal-Cesarean Delivery of Twin Pregnancies

Obstetrics & Gynecology . 98(6):1032-1037, December 2001.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the incidence and factors associated with combined vaginal-cesarean delivery in twin pregnancies. METHODS: We studied all twin births weighing 500 g or more during a 20-year period (1980-1999) at a tertiary care center. Major anomalies, monoamniotic and conjoined twins, and antepartum fetal deaths were excluded.

RESULTS: During this 20-year period, 105,987 women delivered, of whom 1565 (1.5%) had twins. Of these, 1151 twin sets fulfilled the study criteria. The mode of delivery was vaginal in 653 (56.8%), cesarean in 448 (38.9%), and vaginal-cesarean in 50 (4.3%). During the 20 years there was a statistically significant increase in combined vaginal-cesarean and elective cesarean deliveries, with a decrease in vaginal deliveries. Parity, gestational age, and birth weight discordance (>25%) were not associated with combined delivery. Compared with vaginal delivery, the nonvertex second twin was associated with a twofold higher risk of cesarean delivery (relative risk [RR] 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3, 3.8; P =.002); and an interdelivery interval of over 60 minutes with an eightfold higher risk (RR 8.2; CI 4.6,14.6; P <.001). Vaginal-cesarean delivery had a 22-fold higher use of general anesthesia compared with vaginal delivery (RR 21.8; CI 5.4, 88.5; P <.001). CONCLUSION: There has been a significant increase in combined vaginal-cesarean and elective cesarean deliveries among twin gestations, with a decrease in vaginal births. Vaginal-cesarean delivery is associated with nonvertex second twin and a prolonged interdelivery interval.

Now we come to 2008!  There is a study here from Texas. This study looked a twins born by C/S after labor and twins who had cesarean birth of the second twin. they campared outcomes to see if the twin of a combined delivery had more problems. The most important pieces of information I gather from this abstract of results…. (again, having NOT read the entire study):

“Combined twin delivery may be associated with endometritis and neonatal sepsis when compared with a twin delivery where both are delivered by cesarean in twin pregnancies experiencing labor. More serious neonatal sequelae, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and death, were not affected by the route of delivery of the second twin.”  Hmmm 

Cesarean Delivery for the Second Twin

Alexander, James M.; Leveno, Kenneth J.; ….et al:for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network (MFMU)   Obstetrics & Gynecology . 112(4):748-752, October 2008.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75235-9032, USA. james.alexander@utsouthwestern.edu

OBJECTIVE: To examine maternal and infant outcomes after a vaginal delivery of twin A and a cesarean delivery of twin B, and to identify whether the second twin experienced increased short-term morbidity as part of a combined route of delivery. METHODS: Between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2000, a prospective cohort study of all cesarean deliveries was conducted at 13 university centers. This secondary analysis was limited to women with twin gestations who experienced labor and underwent cesarean delivery. We compared outcomes of the second twin in women who had vaginal delivery of the first twin and a cesarean delivery of the second twin to those who had cesarean delivery of both twins. RESULTS: One thousand twenty-eight twin pregnancies experienced labor and underwent cesarean delivery; 179 (17%) had a combined vaginal/cesarean delivery. Gestational age at delivery was 34.6 weeks in both groups (P=.97). The rupture of membranes to delivery interval was longer in the combined group (3.2 compared with 2.3 hours, P<.001). Endometritis and culture-proven sepsis in the second twin were more common in the combined group, respectively (n=24, odds ratio 1.6, 95% confidence interval, 1.0-2.7; n=15, odds ratio 1.8, 95% confidence interval, 1.0-3.4). These differences were not significant after logistic regression analysis. There were no statistically significant differences in an arterial cord pH of less than 7.0, Apgar score less than or equal to 3 at 5 minutes, seizures, grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhage, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or neonatal death. CONCLUSION: Combined twin delivery may be associated with endometritis and neonatal sepsis when compared with a twin delivery where both are delivered by cesarean in twin pregnancies experiencing labor. More serious neonatal sequelae, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and death, were not affected by the route of delivery of the second twin.

I gather from these studies that a combined delivery route leads to more problems.. however…there are probably more problems than breech presentation alone to lead the provider to make that choice. I believe that many newer providers of obstetrics in a hospital setting are more apt to do a scheduled C/S for any vertex-nonvertex twins they encounter. That is what is done in my facility today. The same for all breech presentation singleton gestation.

Where is that old-fashioned nurse when you need her?? How ’bout the old fashoined doc??? 😉

I am very interested in anyone’s story or experience either in healthcare or your personal birth. Please let me know if you know anything about this!

Thanks for reading!

Watch Wednesday ~ WAIT to Clamp Cord!

Watch the video Wednesday

Just read an awesome Post about Delayed Cord Clamping by a fellow Labor and Delivery Nurse who has an excellent blog you should all read. I have a link to it on the right hand side… “nursingbirth”.

She did tremendous research and has supplied fabulous information. 

Here’s a shout out to you nursingbirth!!

Watch this video..