Finally I got something done! I have been SO tired this week – the “I could sleep all day” kind of tired. Needless to say I have been sleeping a lot. Not much else going on other than I am just waiting on Renee to have her baby so that I can photograph the birth. Hopefully that will happen sometime this week.
That’s our midwife Heike and behind her one of the student midwives Tamar. What is she doing?… well a couple of things. First off she is checking the fundal height (i.e. the top of the uterus). At 20 weeks it’s supposed to be right at your belly button (it is). It’s hard and one can feel it though the skin/fat/and muscle tissue. The fundal height is actually the measurement from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your fundus. Sometime after 20 weeks they actually start measuring it with a tape measure. The fundal height should be equal to the number of weeks you have progressed in your pregnancy. So if you are 30 weeks pregnant, your fundal height should measure around 30 centimeters. So when you hear women talking about “measuring big” or “measuring small” this is what they are talking about.
The second thing my midwife does that involves hands on the belly is fundal palpation, i.e checking the position of the baby. At 20 weeks it can be hard to tell much but Heike said she was 80% sure the baby was currently in the breech position (at 20 weeks baby still flips around A LOT). From what I have been told most OBs do not do fundal palpation (please correct me if I am wrong). It is a learned art and it takes a lot of practice to be able to feel what part of the baby you are feeling. Heike is one of the most experienced midwives in the region (seriously, thousands of births) she has a lot of practice feeling bellies. With the safety of ultrasound recently being called into question I wonder if fundal palpation will again become more common. I do know that for estimating baby’s weight fundal palpation by an experienced practitioner is more accurate than ultrasound – ultrasounds having a plus or minus 2 lb error. When I was pregnant with Simon we happened to have a prenatal appointment on the very evening that I went into labor. Andrea (one of our other midwives) estimated that Simon was 6.5 lbs at that appointment. He was born at 10:45 the next morning and was exactly 6 lbs 8 oz. I couldn’t believe how accurate her estimate was – especially after all the stories of women who were told they were having an 11 lb baby only to deliver a 9 pounder or women who were made unnecessarily nervous over their “extremely tiny” 5lb baby only to give birth to a 7.5 lb baby. So I guess what I am saying is that if you get a weight estimate based off an ultrasound – take it with a grain of salt. I will tell you that based on our ultrasound our baby weighs 3/4 or a pound right now (about 3 sticks of butter).
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