Birthing in the Bay State: Trends and News

Every May, we take a look at trends in birthing and baby care. Read on to learn about labor without confinement, baby names, creative ways to re-purpose baby gear and Massachusetts’ distinction as a top state for twins and older moms.


Free-Range’ Childbirth


Many people think of labor as a woman confined to a hospital bed, often hooked up to an IV and wearing fetal monitoring belts around her belly. But Lamaze International, longtime advocates and educators of natural childbirth, insist that confined labor isn’t ideal.


“The best way to keep your baby moving down and out is to keep your own body in motion,” says Marilyn Curl, president of Lamaze International. “Being confined to bed, tethered to monitors and IVs interferes with the body’s ability to move the baby through the pelvic bones and down the birth canal.”


Lamaze cites several studies revealing that allowing women to walk, move around or change positions during labor may reduce pain and the need for pain medications, length of labor, the need for continuous fetal monitoring, Cesarean surgeries and even the likelihood for an episiotomy or use of vacuum forceps.


Lamaze advocates believe that staying upright during labor allows gravity to aid the body’s natural efforts to open the pelvic bones. Women confined to lying in bed lose this advantage, these advocates say.


How do you avoid unnecessary confinement to bed during labor? Lamaze International offers this advice:


• Choose a care provider who supports mobility during labor.


• Know the facts on fetal monitoring. In low-risk mothers, research shows that occasional monitoring is just as safe as continual monitoring.


• Know the facts about epidurals. Sometimes switching positions can help move babies – and labor – along. An epidural is well known for reducing labor pain, but it also renders the mother nearly immobile.


Choose the right support. Find a doula or labor support person to help you keep moving and help you manage each and every contraction.


• Use a birthing ball when you need a rest. You may need to bring your own if your hospital doesn’t usually support women laboring in upright positions.


• Consider staying upright during the pushing phase, too. Again, Lamaze advocates believe that lying back down during the pushing phase will “shrink the pelvis and make it harder to push the baby out.”




Name That Baby!

The Social Security Administration’s annual list of the most popular baby names is due out this month. Isabella and Jacob topped the list in 2009. Over the last 100 years, the names that took the No. 1 spot the most have been Mary, Jennifer and Emily for girls and John, Robert and Michael for boys.


Baby name books are practically a cottage industry – there are many to choose from! One of the most recent additions, Bring Back Beatrice! 1,108 Baby Names With Meaning, Character, and a Little Bit of Attitude (Workman Publishing, 2011) explores traditional but underutilized names that stand the test of time. Author Jennifer Griffin describes the meaning and usage trend for such names as Evelyn, Millicent, Francis and Reginald. Worth a look if you’re looking for something different. Many parents steer clear of the traditional in favor of the latest fad names. So by choosing traditional, you’re thinking out of the box!

– Deirdre Wilson



We’re Older and We Have More Kids

Massachusetts tops the nation with the highest birth rate for twins, triplets and higher multiples. Most notable is the state’s twin birth rate of 4.5 for every 100 births, compared to a national rate of 3.2, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the reasons is another top statistic in the Bay State. We have the oldest first-time mothers in the United States. The average age at first-time childbirth here is 27.7. Older women are statistically more likely to have multiples; they also may need infertility treatments, another factor in multiple births.


– Deirdre Wilson


Bogged Down in Baby Gear?

Here are some terrific re-uses for everything from nursing pads to those plastic baby wipe containers:


Nursing Pads

– Soak disposable breast pads in witch hazel for great grown-up-girl facial wipes.

– Use one inside a shoe that is slightly too big to keep the heel from rubbing.

– Place one or more under drips in pipes.

– Wipe off excess water from a paintbrush after rinsing.

– Reuse them over and over as makeup-remover pads.

– Washable cotton pads work great to wax and polish shoes and boots.


Baby Food Jars

– Great organizing containers for beads and sequins; rubber bands; screws, nails and washers.

– Use as snack containers for small portions of Cheerios or Goldfish; or salad dressing for your lunch.

– Decorate the jars on the outside and place a tea light inside for pretty candles.

– Store homegrown herbs or spices in the jars.

– Fill with gifts: homemade bath salts, drink mixes, dried herbs, etc.

– Create a homemade snow globe!


Baby Clothes

– Save a few keepsakes and pass the others around to friends with babies.

– Save the tiny favorites for doll clothes.

– Sell gently used items to consignment stores; you’ll have money to spend on the next size up.

– Clip small pieces from worn or stained baby clothing for a patchwork blanket, skirt or vest.

– Donate to women’s shelters. Women and children often arrive with just the clothes on their backs.



– Frame the front cover of a favorite board book to use as a room decoration. Carefully slide the front cover off and place in a “floating” or “clip” frame.

– Frame several pages from a favorite book and arrange on the wall.

– Donate gently used books to a local library, women’s shelter or daycare.

– Use the pages of worn, well-loved books to make collages or greeting cards.

– Cut out pictures and glue them onto index cards. Have children put them in story order for sequencing practice – reading readiness!


Baby Wipe Boxes

– Organize toys and crafts. Label each box so items are easy to find.

– Create a road-trip project-box for your little travelers.

– Use as a plastic bag dispenser.

– Make mini treasure chests for party favors.

– Great for first-aid kits in cars.

– Decorate and use as giant stacking blocks.


Baby Blankets

– Cut them down for use as cloth baby wipes.

– Sew baby blankets together for a blanket or quilt.

– Save a few for baby dolls.

– Cut them down for use as dust rags.


And More …

• Changing table – Convert it into a storage unit. Add a few baskets or bins for socks, shoes, small toys, etc.

• Baby clothes hangers – Great for hanging scarves and ties.

• Burp cloths and cloth diapers – These make great cleaning rags. If you’ve got a mop that uses the disposable mop pads, most burp cloths are the perfect size for a washable reusable variety.  

• Waterproof changing pads – Use them on tables or countertops during messy activities, such as painting, as bath mats, under the sheets for bed-wetting, or under the dog’s dish.


Kristi Hemingway





A Drool-Worthy Event


Find the products and services you need as a new or expectant parent at Drool: An Extraordinary Expo for Expectant Moms (and Dads) on May 31 at Boston’s Seaport Hotel.

The Boston Parents Paper is a co-sponsor of this special evening event presented by the baby gear and toy store Magic Beans. Stroll the expo floor to see exhibits by baby and maternity brands and retailers, including top brands of strollers, car seats, baby carriers and other products. Talk directly to the people behind these brands before making your purchase decisions.

The expo also features workshops and consultations on fitness, nutrition, baby registries, green parenting, stroller matchmaking and car seat installation. There will be raffles and giveaways, as well as a special gift bag for all attendees.

Tickets are $30 per single person; $50 per couple. VIP tickets, which include an upgraded gift bag, early access to the expo from 5-6 p.m., a Magic Beans gift card and other upgrades are $60 per single person or $80 per couple.


Drool: An Extraordinary Expo for Expectant Moms (and Dads) – Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 5-9 p.m., Seaport Hotel, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston.


Posted April 2011

Health & Wellness Infants