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Focal Point Tools For Your Labor And Birth

 

About

 
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Vicki Berry, MSN RNC-OB LCCE
 

To begin, I chose to spend most of my career (20+ years) as a labor and delivery nurse, witnessing the miracle of birth, almost daily. One day while attending my nursing clinical rotation in the Johns Hopkins Medical Center's maternity ward as a nursing student many years ago, I observed a young first-time laboring mother who was extremely frightened about the birth process. This patient was standing on the bed with one of her family members trying to coax her to come down from her standing position and continue to give birth.

Neither I, nor the family member knew how to calm her, so I called for one of the more experienced labor nurses. The more experienced labor nurse then entered the room and proceeded to talk calmly to her and to have her focus on the shiny pendant that she was wearing. The young mother calmed down and then proceeded to give birth, while both listening to the calming voice of the labor nurse, and focusing on the shiny pendant.

Although this was an extreme case-it has influenced my thoughts and teaching, leading to the development of the "Focus For Your Baby" products. It is important to note; that each woman has her own varying degrees of confidence and fear when it comes to how she thinks that she will react and feel when her labor occurs.

One of my own experiences while giving birth involved focusing on a shiny silver wall sticker in the shape of a heart. I later realized that the shiny heart sticker was a skin temperature monitor for newborns when they were placed under the fetal monitors to prevent hypo or hyperthermia. In any case, this shiny silver wall sticker helped me to concentrate, and deliver my precious baby.

These focal points are not meant to replace childbirth education, or to replace other tools or medications when needed in labor. The focal point tools only provide another option to help the laboring mother in using her own abilities by helping her to use visual distraction and the premises of the 'Gate Control Theory' concepts, thereby helping to lessen the pain of labor contractions. Childbirth education can-in many ways begin to reduce the fears of becoming new parents. When fear is involved in the birth process many unhelpful hormones are released, such as adrenalin. Adrenalin causes an increased heart rate, and reduces blood flow to the uterus and baby.

When women are in labor, especially in active labor, increasing amounts of endorphins are released, creating a dream-like state that makes her turn inward as she copes with her contractions (Lothian, 2000). Using shiny and holographic, or sequin light reflecting materials for the focal point tools are meant to capture her attention in labor, and when she arrives at this state of mind. The invention will aid a laboring woman at many stages of her labor, whether she is attempting to have a natural childbirth, waiting for regional anesthesia, such as an epidural, or if the epidural is not working effectively. Some women may also need to use visual distraction during medical procedures, i.e. IV starts, blood draws, or during pelvic exams.

As a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, I have learned that many non-pharmacologic pain techniques are available for birth, i.e. (hydrotherapy, birthing balls, active movement while in labor, and overloading of sensory receptors) to name a few. In my labor and delivery nursing experience I realized that most women arrived in labor without a focal point to help them, so were left to focus on something in their birthing rooms. These objects usually ranged from focusing on a light switch, the infant warmer, or generic pictures in the room. In addition; their partners and support persons were unaware that they could also be involved in assisting the laboring woman in this visual focusing process.

With my experience and observations as a labor and delivery nurse, recently completing my Masters degree in Clinical Nurse Education, I have realized how important it is for nurses, and other healthcare workers, to share information when observing phenomena, in order to assist in contributing to healthy outcomes.

Note: All references are contained in the Evidence page

 
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