One Reason You Need to Wait Until 38 Week to Give Birth
For many moms that desire to exclusively breastfeed, or just want their milk to be the first food their babies eat, new protocols for babies at risk may interfere with your ability to do so. There's tons of compelling information highlighting the benefits of waiting for labor to start on its own or waiting until full term to induce. Full term is now considered 38 to 42 weeks. Now with new hypoglycemia protocols, there may be an additional reason to wait. Hypoglycemia is a term used to describe low blood sugar. Severe hypoglycemia can cause bodily injury, coma, and death. How does this relate to waiting until 38 weeks?
Your Babies Weight
- Babies born between 35-37 weeks and 6 days are considered LPI (late preterm infants)
- Babies that weigh less than 5.5 lbs (2500 grams) are considered SGA (small for gestational age)
- Babies born more than 8.8 lbs (4000 grams) are LGA (large for gestational age
Babies will gain approximately 1 lbs/ per week in the later months of pregnancy so it would behoove you to wait to allow your baby to gain the necessary development and weight to not only be healthy but to also avoid the additional medical interventions.
So How is This Protocol Used?
Once your baby has been identified as falling into anyone of these risk factors, he must be fed within 30 minutes of being born. Moms that birth their babies naturally are granted the opportunity to breastfeed but moms that deliver via cesarean don't have the same opportunity. So then how do the babies that did not get a chance to breastfeed eat? They're given a bottle. The protocol requires for any newborn that fits the risk factor to eat within 30 minutes of life and then a blood sugar taken within 1 hour of life. Depending on which category your baby falls into, blood sugars must be taken for the next 12-24 hours of life.
Now let's be clear. I'm not advocating for babies that have low blood sugars to be witheld nourishment. As stated earlier, a low blood sugar can lead to catastrophic events. What I do have a hard time understanding is why aren't the blood sugars being test first, then an intervention used? Why intervene then test? Also, how then do hospitals meet the requirements necessary in order to become baby friendly?
What do you do?
If your're opposed to your baby being given formula, make it very clear to those taking care of your baby that you do not want a bottle to be given unless there is a low blood sugar. Test, then intervene. Also, breastfeed your baby before they're taken to the nursery. This will help your baby maintain a good blood sugar, but you've also had the chance to bond. Lastly, ask for your baby to stay with you and not transition in the nursery. Depending on where you deliver, and your babies condition at birth, some hospitals allow mommies and babies to stay together the entire time. This promotes breastfeeding. Studies also show that babes that stay with mom are less stressed thus having lower heart rates, respiratory rate, and better blood sugar levels. When doing your hospital tour, ask whether your baby can stay with you for transition.
I share this information with because we're on the same team. This information is to serve as a guide when making healthcare decision so you can advocate for your family based on your values. As a nurse myself, I'm not the enemy. Don't treat your nurse that way. We do our jobs days in and day out taking care of your loved ones to the greatest of our capacity. But guided with the right tools, you can make informed decision pivotal to great care. Remember, you are the consumer. Never forget that.