How Your Hospital Birth Compares to Your Mother’s

Giving birth is the most rewarding, yet physically demanding work your body will ever endure. Women from all over the world have been birthing babies for centuries, so it is of no surprise that woman are nothing short of amazing! Although many hospital births have changed the way in which they handle births since your mother’s time, some hospital procedures remain the same. Here are six ways your hospital birth experience is different, yet not so different from that of your mother’s birth.

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7 “Baby Friendly” Approved Hospitals

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund came together to create the Baby-Friendly Hospital Imitative of 1991, a global program that promotes optimal choice in infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/about-us/baby-frie... Currently, there are 315 U.S. hospital and birthing centers in 47 states and the District of Columbia hold the Baby-Friendly designation. https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/find-facilities

Unlike your mother’s birth experience when nurses would take babies immediately after birth and whisk them away to the nursery, hospitals today employ different protocols. Your mother may not have any memories of you holding you right away. In fact, she may not have been able to so until the next day depending on health reasons.

You can rest assured that you will most likely be in close contact with your baby after birth. In fact, Baby-Friendly hospitals will place your baby on your chest immediately right after birth to promote a mother-baby bonding. Hospitals that are approved to be “baby friendly” encourage mothers to “room in” with their baby. Instead of going to the nursery, your baby will sleep right next to you inside a bassinet.

6 Formula Pushers

Hospitals have recently come under fire for aiding in the marketing of baby formula to new mothers by giving away gift bags that includes samples of formula. Your mother might be able to recall receiving one of these bags filled with pacifiers and diapers. And although your mother may have happily accepted and used the free goodies, breastfeeding advocates are calling for the elimination of these gift bags.

A national campaign called, “Ban The Bags”, originated in Massachusetts pushes for hospitals to stop marketing formula products to new mothers. http://banthebags.org/about/ According to a May 2015 study published in Pediatrics, there was a 41 percent drop in hospitals who provided infant formula packaging to breastfeeding mothers between 2007 and 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26009631

In an effort to curb the use of infant formula to new mothers and increase breastfeeding rates, many hospitals no longer offer a bottle of formula to mothers. Instead, breastfeeding counselors are available for you to get help in breastfeeding your baby.

5 Prenatal Care

Although your mom has passed on wisdom, she can’t give you pointers on how to capture the perfect selfie of you and your developing baby bump. July 22nd is “Bump Day.” This day is an international movement that encourages women to take pictures of their bumps to gain attention from non-profit companies, governmental agencies, and others organizations that speak about maternal death. 

The hospital staff will offer education on proper nutrition for you and baby. Some hospitals access the mother’s financial situation to determine if she needs assistance in food or shelter. Proper nutrition and a healthy environment contribute to longevity. Since your mother walked out of the hospital doors with you, hospital care has greatly improved.

Postpartum Care

The“baby blues” is a period of overwhelming sadness after birth. This is a topic that is discussed more than ever among doctors, family, and friends. A once overlooked aspect of mental health for new mothers, medical professionals are more educated today at treating this type of depression. In the past, most doctors dismissed these feelings, back when mothers were expected to maintain daily household duties all on her own.

Hospitals today offer postpartum checkups about 6-12 weeks after a mother has given birth. Expect to be evaluated by your doctor to check for proper physical healing and to examine your feelings about life with your new baby.

Counselors are available for mothers if you are having a hard time coping with parenthood and all that it entails. Your mental health is taken seriously, more now than ever before. You can be rest assured that your doctor will care about your mental well-being as you adjust to motherhood.

Bottle VS Breast

Breastfeeding rates have increased in the U.S. If your mother was one of the lucky few, she received assistance in breastfeeding after her hospital birth. But the procedure back then involved bottle feeding wee ones.

Breast versus bottle feeding is an ongoing debate. This discussion can cause quite a stir between mothers with different parenting styles. Thanks to hospitals becoming more and more baby friendly, you can expect to get help to breastfeed before a bottle.

Depending on your preference, you may or may night enjoy this subtle push to feed your baby a certain way. The idea behind this push is to provide mothers with options. It is a step towards a change of operations in hospitals that will set the standards for generations to come.

4 Pain Management Options

Medicated VS. Natural Birth

More than likely, if your mom felt the slightest pain, she was given plenty of options to reduce, and even eliminate her pain while in labor. The nurse approached with a smile on her face, and a needle in one hand, ready to give her a shot in the back, and knock out the pain of childbirth. She trusted the nurses and doctors without any doubts, because that was the thinking in her day.

It was not until the 1950s and 60s that women began to reconsider the role in which medication plays in their births. Due to a shift in attitude about health care, spurred on by the women’s right movement, women decided to take charge of their own births. 

Natural and home births are the results of those who have chosen to bring their babies into the world using more natural styles. Hospitals have scaled back on pushing pain medications to mothers in an effort to provide the all-natural birthing process to take its own course.

3  Monitoring of Baby

Technology has evolved so much that doctors are able to detect potential birth defects for expecting mothers. These new medical advances were not so much available for your mother. Defects were not detected early or accurately. Your mother was limited in what she knew about the health of her pregnancy. You can set your mind at ease in knowing that your doctor will capture potential risks and help prevent potential harm to you and your baby.

Modern medical technologies can detect far better than methods of the past. Ultrasounds are clearer and more accurate, and can provide medical staff the insight on how they should provide care to a mother and her baby. These medical advances serve as protection for a growing life and you, the mother. Lives have been saved due to accurate measurements of risk.

In your mother's day, she had to cross her fingers and hope she would give birth to a healthy baby. Don’t fret if you get diagnosed with a medical problem. Modern medicine will equip you with the right knowledge to help better prepare you for an at-risk baby. In fact, many babies have gone on to have a prosperous life and make great strives despite their medical conditions at birth.

2  Intimate Setting

More women are choosing intimate settings for their births, such as birthing centers or even right at home. With the increasing shift favoring natural approaches, home births and birth centers are in vogue today.

The days in which family and friends packed inside the delivery room to welcome the baby is long gone, although your mother may still remember the grand audience. Relatives anxiously peered through the windows of the nursery all huddled together to get a good view of the baby. What an exciting time it must have been for the family!

You now have greater options on how much transparency you will allow for your birth. You can choose a certain number of people in your delivery room, or even capture the moment on video for others to view in the comfort of their own home. You will never have to worry about leaving anyone out of one of the most special experiences of your life.

1 Recovery Time

The recovery time after birth was considered a very secret time for a woman. Your mother was most likely set up with help to aid in cooking, cleaning, and caring for her baby. In some cultures, women were expected to rest for a whole month.

Unfortunately, the U.S. has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to childcare and working families. You are faced with the daunting decision to return to work shortly after giving birth. If you’re lucky enough to stay at home with your baby, be prepared to take on all of the housework while your spouse works to provide financially.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is one law that heavily influences the time a woman can take off after giving birth. It is a law that has come under fire and one that many want to change. Be mindful of these kinds of laws when preparing to give birth. Although times have changed in the ways your mother has given birth and now, one thing remains the same: the goal of giving life to healthy babies. Every baby should be given a healthy start in life.

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