My sister leads a very healthy life. When she found out that she was pregnant in September '07 it was no surprise that she dove head first into literature and resources about having a healthy pregnancy.
She and her husband did just about everything by the books to prepare for a natural birth. They were scheduled to deliver at a birthing center in Kansas City, but around her 6 month they received a call that the birthing center's midwife quit. So they were back at square one with the closest birthing center almost 2 hours away.
They knew they didn't want to deliver in a hospital. They researched home birth and decided on that. Needless to say they surprised many of us with this decision. But it was just that, their decision. After "hearing her out" I was very excited about being a part of it.
The day finally rolled around. I received a call that morning around 9:30 saying that she had been having contractions all night. They were just beginning to get closer so it was time for me to head on over. When I got there my brother-in-law was filling up the birthing tub and my sister was on the bed resting.
Amanda was such a trooper all day long. I was so proud of her. She experienced 12 long hours of heavy labor that began with about 10 hours of light labor. At approximately 10:05 that evening meconium was present.
The baby was breech.
Being that this was her first baby there was much more risk involved with trying to deliver breech. After some deliberation the decision was made to head to the hospital.
Amanda was rushed in and took precedence over all other c-sections. Grant was born around 1:00 am.
As you can imagine my sister and brother-in-law were not expecting this. In fact, their expectations were so far from this that they were in shock for quite some time.
This lead to even more head diving...into literature that is.
They know that they want to have more children. A home birth is out of the question. Birthing centers are not. And a VBAC is not.
A scar on the uterus raises the risk for natural birth. What can be done to prepare your body for a VBAC? Obviously eating healthy and exercising. Some even believe that certain supplements can aid. Specifically red raspberry leaves.
Amanda knows a woman who also had a c-section with her first child. She supplemented red raspberry leaves before and during her second pregnancy. She scheduled a c-section for her second child. The doctor later informed her that her scar and uterus were in such great shape that she could have had a VBAC with no problems at all.
I have been doing some "non-scientific" research of my own since hearing this story. I was surprised to discover that there are many benefits associated with red raspberry leaves.
Here are some that I found:
- tones the uterus
- improves contractions
- decreases constipation
- dissolves scar tissue
- includes vitamin C & calcium
I also found the following information and possible side effects here.
Although it is best known for its delicious red berries, raspberry leaves have a number of medical applications. They have been used in connection with the common cold, sore throats, diarrhea, pregnancy, and postpartum support.
In pregnancy it was traditionally used to help with nausea, ease labor and delivery, and post- partum recovery. It is also helpful for regulating menstrual period and controlling diarrhea.
Raspberry leaf tea also acts as an astringent on irritated skin by tightening the top layers of skin or mucous membranes effectively reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness. As a mouth wash it is used to soothe mouth and throat irritations.
Possible Side Effects and Contradictions
Raspberry leaf may affect infants and is not recommended for women who are breast-feeding. Pregnant women should avoid taking Raspberry leaf tea 3 months before delivery. Diabetics should be careful as it might lower the blood sugar levels drastically.
I spoke with my sister because she is currently taking it and also nursing. In the research that she has done and in speaking with reliable sources she has no reason to believe or feel that her child could be harmed. I ran across a message board in which the midwives of these women actually encouraged them to supplement with red raspberry during the last couple of months of their pregnancy.
I do however encourage you to look into it if you are diabetic. Almost all resources warned of your blood sugar being lowered.
I purchased my capsules at Whole Foods and have been trying to take 2 a day for the past five weeks.. Prior to taking the supplement I was concerned about a couple of very hard, large knots along my incision (I had a c-section 18 months ago). I was planning on going in to have them checked out. However, about 10 days ago I was "self checking" and was extremely excited to discover that they are no longer there. Some may say that it is mere coincidence. You be the judge. I, however, am going to continue supplementing.
As for a VBAC in my future? I will cross that bridge when it presents itself.