This method works on the principle of naval sonar by bouncing sound waves off the fetus. The echo is converted into electronic signals which are then converted into a screen image. The ultrasound has no known risks of harm to mother or baby, unlike x-rays. The equipment allows doctors to see the fetus’s organs, to count the number of fingers and toes, to find the genitals and to see whether the fetus is developing normally. Ultrasound is used during fetal surgery since doctors can not otherwise see the fetus. It is also used late in pregnancy to determine the size, position and physical appearance of the about to be born baby.
This is a procedure that allows doctors to examine the cells of an unborn child to see whether or not it is afflicted with Down Syndrome or any of a variety of serious genetic disorders.
The doctor passes a hollow needle through the mother’s abdomen into the uterus to withdraw the amniotic fluid. This fluid that surrounds the fetus contains cells and other material shed by the fetus. The fluid is then analyzed for chromosomal or metabolic abnormalities to see if genetic defects are present. The expected baby’s sex can also be revealed. Amniocentesis is usually done between the fourteenth and eighteenth week of pregnancy. With the help of ultrasound, the doctor can closely control the placing of the needle.
Not only can amniotic fluid be extracted but a sample of blood can be taken from the umbilical cord or the placenta and the baby can be viewed with a fetoscope.
A fetoscope is inserted through a tiny incision in the abdomen and a tiny lens in the fetoscope can view parts of the baby, along with extracting blood from the cord or placenta to permit accurate identification certain disorders. There is a chance of fetal loss of about 1 in 20.
A fetal protein called AFP can be measured in a pregnant woman’s blood at 15 to 18 weeks of pregnancy to help detect some birth defects and learn other things about the health of the pregnancy.
Some people believe that is a mother overindulges in strawberries or drinks wine the baby will have strawberry marks or wine blotches on his skin.
Because there is no connection between the nervous systems of the mother and her baby, the mother’s thoughts cannot have any direct effect on her baby.
There is another belief that prematurely born babies are doomed to physical and mental weakness for the rest of their lives. Unless there has been some damage to the baby’s brain at birth, there is no evidence whatsoever that prematurity will have any effect on the baby’s development other than to slow it down somewhat during the first year or two of life.
Some people believe that if the mother reaches or stretches a lot then the umbilical cord will wrap around the baby’s neck and strangle it. Actually, there is very little chance of the umbilical cord choking the baby.
Some other old wives’ tales that the teacher may want to discuss and explain would be things such as: Don’t lift things, don’t swim, don’t take baths, don’t play sports, don’t travel, don’t fly, don’t dance, Don’t touch cats, and don’t have intercourse.
THE THREE STAGES OF LABOR
The first stage. The uterus undergoes regular contractions, the amniotic sac breaks, and the cervix becomes fully dilated (about 4 inches)
The second stage—The baby is born.
The third stage—This occurs when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus, is expressed into the vagina and then delivered.
DRUGS USED IN CHILDBIRTH
Barbiturates and tranquilizers do not have any pain relieving properties per se. What they do is relieve tension and anxiety and induce a state of mental tranquility.
Amnesics are drugs like scopolamine, which don’t stop sensations at the time but erases the memory of them later. The use of scopolamine is now frowned on because it causes some women to become physically violent.
These are central nervous system depressants. They depress not only the sensation of pain, but other nervous mechanisms as well, including respiration. Today demerol is the most popular analgesic.
These numb sensations of pain either by rendering a woman unconscious or by blocking the pathway from the sensory nerves to the brain (conduction). Conduction anesthesia is also called regional or local, because it affects only part of the body; the patient remains awake but does not feel pain in the areas that have been anesthetized.
For conduction anesthesia, one of the “-caine” drugs (novocaine, marcaine, xylocaine, and so on) is injected either locally, within the spinal column or outside the dura (the tough membrane which covers the spinal cord). Types of local administration are the paracervical block is administered with an injection on each side of the cervix; the pudendal block involves an injection on each side of the perineal nerves.
Spinal blocks are administered by the anesthetic being injected into the spinal fluid surrounding the lower spinal cord. A needle is inserted between two vertebrae and a single dose given. Then the needle is withdrawn. Because spinal blocks stop labor, they can be administered only right before delivery.
Extradural blocks include the caudal and epidural. The point of injection for caudal anesthesia is the tailbone. For an epidural the injection is made between two of the lumbar vertebrae. In both cases the anesthetic is given continually rather than in one injection. Caudals or epidurals can be administered once labor is well established, generally around six centimeters and continued until after delivery.
This is a method of childbirth in which no medication or drugs are used. This method was developed by a man who believed that much of the pain women experienced in childbirth was brought on by fear, which produced tension, which in turn produced pain. He felt that by teaching what to expect and giving them specific techniques to use for relaxation, most of the pain could be eliminated along with the drugs.
Breast milk is one of the most natural substances available to the baby. Even though the breasts become much fuller during pregnancy, the breast milk does not appear, in most cases, until 2-5 days after delivery. For those who want to feed their baby, they will breastfeed right away. The breast will produce a yellowish looking fluid called colostrum until milk production starts. The colostrum, like the milk, will help in protecting the baby from certain infections, by viruses and bacteria.
This unit has been divided into sections so that the person who uses it can adapt it to their own teaching style. The teacher can adapt the lesson from the background information provided. Six weeks of lesson plans will be provided also. The format is one of informal lecture, which can also involve drawing the class out by asking questions, showing movies, filmstrips, or slides and discussing them. To keep the students interested in the unit it is proper to always be sensitive to the needs of the class, answer all questions, if possible, if not let the student know you don’t know the answer but you will do some research and get back to them with the answer.
Always remember that the students notice many things and if the teacher is not comfortable with a subject, that feeling can catch on to the students, then the teacher may not be able to draw the students out because he/she is not comfortable with the subject.